Volume 367, Number 3, March I 2001
|Page(s)||983 - 994|
|Published online||15 March 2001|
II. A consistent observational data set
Instituto de Astronomía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apdo. Postal 70 264, México D.F. 04510, México e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 DAEC, Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France e-mail: email@example.com
Corresponding author: M. Peña, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 5 December 2000
We present high resolution spectrophotometric data for a sample of 34 planetary nebulae with [WC] spectral type central stars (WRPNe) in our Galaxy. The observed objects cover a wide range in stellar characteristics: early and late [WC] type stars, as well as weak-emission line stars (WELS). Physical conditions in the nebulae (electron density and temperatures) have been obtained from various diagnostic line ratios, and chemical abundances have been derived with the usual empirical scheme. Expansion velocities were estimated in a consistent manner from the line profiles for most objects of the sample. A statistical study was developed for the derived data in order to find fundamental relationships casting some light on the evolutionary status of WRPNe. We found evidence for a strong electron temperature gradient in WRPNe which is related to nebular excitation. Such a gradient is not predicted in simple photoionization models. Abundance ratios indicate that there seems to be no preferential stellar mass for the Wolf-Rayet phenomenon to occur in the nucleus of a planetary nebula. Two objects, M 1-25 and M 1-32, were found to have a very small Ne/O ratio, a property difficult to understand. We reexamined the relation between the nebular properties of the WRPNe and the spectral types of the central stars. Our data confirm the trend found by other authors of the electron density decreasing with decreasing spectral type, which was interpreted as evidence that [WC] stars evolve from late to early [WC] types. On the other hand, our data on the expansion velocities do not show the increase of expansion velocity with decreasing spectral type, that one might expect in such a scenario. Two objects with very late [WC] type central stars, K 2-16 and PM 1-188, do not follow the general density sequence, being of very low density for their spectral types. We suggest that the stars either underwent a late helium flash (the "born again"scenario) or that they have had a particularly slow evolution from the AGB. The 6 WELS of our sample follow the same density vs. [WC]-type relation as the bona fide WRPNe, but they tend to have smaller expansion velocities. Considerations about the evolutionary status of WELS must await the constitution of a larger observational sample. The analysis of the differences between the WRPNe in the Magellanic Clouds (distribution of [WC] spectral types, N/O ratios) and in the Galaxy indicates that metallicity affects the [WR] phenomenon in central stars of planetary nebulae.
Key words: planetary nebulae: general / stars: Wolf-Rayet / planetary nebulae: individual: K 2-16, PM 1-188, M 1-32, M 3-15
© ESO, 2001
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