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Planetary Nebulae in the SMC

  • George H. Jacoby (a1), Orsola De Marco (a2) and Robin Ciardullo (a3)

Abstract

Using the ESO 2.2m telescope with the 8K x 8K mosaic CCD, we surveyed 2.8 square degrees (~1.6° x 1.7°) of the SMC to search for faint planetary nebulae (PN). In this region, 34 PN were previously known; we identified 25 new objects. All of these are faint and have been spectroscopically confirmed. We estimate that there should be ~140 PN in the entire SMC to the limits of a survey like this one, which is complete to 6 mag down the planetary nebula luminosity function (PNLF). For a complete survey (8 mag down the PNLF), there should be ~220 PN. A strong new feature is evident in the PNLF as a deficiency at 4 mags below the brightest PN.

The survey spectra that were used to confirm the candidates as PN show that the fainter PN exhibit a higher incidence (~28%) of strong [N II] emission (where I([N II]/I(Hα) > 1) relative to the bright Sanduleak et al. (1978) sample (~6%). We propose that the very faint SMC PN are selectively biased toward the chemically enriched Type I objects derived from younger, more massive progenitors.

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References

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