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Recent Developments in Planetary Nebula Astronomy

Friday 20th November 2020 - 7:30pm
Topic: Recent Developments in Planetary Nebula Astronomy
Speaker: Andrew James (ASNSW)
Venue: Online meeting using ZOOM
Abstract: Planetary nebulae (PNe) continue to be extraordinarily wonderful and interesting deep-sky objects, but still remain mysterious in how they form or evolve into their diverse shapes and structures. Once, they were considered as merely unresolved stars, and then were generally placed among the novae, or as gaseous or spiral nebulae. In the 1950s, our knowledge related the observed phenomena to the finishing relic stages of stellar evolution. This gradually expanded into examining the relationship with their progenitors as binary systems, and mass loss and chemical abundances in the stars. But, perhaps, the greatest interest was after beholding the colourful images of their complex natures from the Hubble Space Telescope, allowing astronomers to investigate their internal structure. Alongside this were many additional discoveries using narrowband surveys in the near or mid-infrared wavelengths, including the southern galactic plane MASH (Macquarie/AAO/Strasbourg Hα) planetary nebula catalogue in 2005. Currently, galactic PNe total > 4,000 with many more detected in the SMC, LMC and nearby galaxies.

Recent studies of PNe have been extremely fruitful, and this talk focusses on some recent developments over the last few years. Specific topics of interest are accurate determinations of distances from GAIA DR2 data and understanding expanding envelopes and haloes, and origins of their morphological diversity and central stars.

Yet, the most productive resources are the imaging releases of southern surveys like DECaPS DR1. Others Surveys have even led to amateur discoveries, like four new PNe found by French observer Lionel Mulato. Another 35 previously unknown PNe candidates, six now confirmed as true PNe, were found in 2016 by a compatriot team called the Planetary Nebula Spectra Trackers (PNSE) led by Pascal Le Dû. All were found on-line on desktop computers.

Please join me at this interesting ZOOM meeting, which should appeal to imagers and visual observers alike.

Biography: Andrew James is a long-term ASNSW member with a passion for planetary nebulae. 

Event Date: 
Friday, 20 November, 2020 - 07:30
Location: 
Online meeting using ZOOM

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