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Planetary Nebulae in Local Group Galaxies

  • Holland C. Ford (a1)

Abstract

Recent surveys for planetary nebulae have given the first identifications in Fornax, NGC 6822, M33, IC 10, Leo A, Sextans A, Pegasus, WLM, NGC 404, and M81, and extended the identifications in the SMC, the LMC, and M31. Observations of planetaries have established chemical compositions in old or intermediate age populations in 8 Local Group galaxies. The chemical compositions show that i) the helium abundance is higher in planetary nebulae than in H II regions in the same galaxy, and ii) nitrogen is overabundant relative to H II regions by factors of 4 to 100. Planetary nebulae are not a major source of helium in star-forming galaxies, and are a major source of nitrogen. The planetary in Fornax has a relatively high O abundance, and, together with Fornax's carbon stars, establishes the presence of at least 2 stellar populations. The abundance gradient derived from 3 planetaries in M31 is very shallow, and gives high abundances at ~ 20 kpc. By using planetary nebulae as standard candles, upper and lower distance limits have been set for 10 Local Group candidates, and a new distance estimated for M81.

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Copyright

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