EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 488, Number 1, September II 2008
Page(s) 225 - 234
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:200809429
Published online 01 July 2008

A&A 488, 225-234 (2008)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:200809429

The gas turbulence in planetary nebulae: quantification and multi-D maps from long-slit, wide-spectral range echellograms

F. Sabbadin1, M. Turatto2, S. Benetti1, R. Ragazzoni1, and E. Cappellaro1

1  INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Padua, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padua, Italy
    e-mail: franco.sabbadin@oapd.inaf.it
2  INAF - Astrophysical Observatory of Catania, via S. Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy

Received 21 January 2008 / Accepted 17 June 2008

Context. This methodological paper is part of a short series dedicated to the long-standing astronomical problem of de-projecting the bi-dimensional, apparent morphology of a three-dimensional distribution of gas.
Aims. We focus on the quantification and spatial recovery of turbulent motions in planetary nebulae (and other classes of expanding nebulae) by means of long-slit echellograms over a wide spectral range.
Methods. We introduce some basic theoretical notions, discuss the observational methodology, and develop an accurate procedure disentangling all broadening components (instrumental resolution, thermal motions, turbulence, gradient of the expansion velocity, and fine structure of hydrogen-like ions) of the velocity profile in all spatial positions of each spectral image. This allows us to extract random, non-thermal motions at unprecedented accuracy, and to map them in 1-, 2- and 3-dimensions.
Results. We discuss general and specific applications of the method. We present the solution to practical problems in the multi-dimensional turbulence-analysis of a testing-planetary nebula (NGC 7009), using the three-step procedure (spatio-kinematics, tomography, and 3D rendering) developed at the Astronomical Observatory of Padua (Italy). In addition, we introduce an observational paradigm valid for all spectroscopic parameters in all classes of expanding nebulae.
Conclusions. Unsteady, chaotic motions at a local scale constitute a fundamental (although elusive) kinematical parameter of each planetary nebula, providing deep insights on its different shaping agents and mechanisms, and on their mutual interaction. The detailed study of turbulence, its stratification within a target and (possible) systematic variation among different sub-classes of planetary nebulae deserve long-slit, multi-position angle, wide-spectral range echellograms containing emissions at low-, medium-, and high-ionization, to be analyzed pixel-to-pixel with a straightforward and versatile methodology, extracting all the physical information (flux, kinematics, electron temperature and density, ionic and chemical abundances, etc.) stored in each frame at best.

Key words: ISM: planetary nebulae: general -- ISM: kinematics and dynamics -- ISM: structure

© ESO 2008