Volume 541, May 2012
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||10 May 2012|
Interacting planetary nebulae
I. Classification and orientation⋆
1 Astronomy Dept, Faculty of Science, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Astronomy, Faculty of Science, Cairo University, Egypt
3 Instituto de Astronomía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 22800 Ensenada, B.C., Mexico
Received: 3 November 2011
Accepted: 15 March 2012
We discuss the classification and orientation of planetary nebulae that interact with the interstellar medium throughout the Milky Way. A sample of 117 confirmed interacting planetary nebulae is used for this purpose. Our results indicate that the majority of interacting objects are located close to the Galactic plane, and ~77% of them are located inside the Galactic thin disk. One third of the sample is less than 100 parsec from the Galactic plane and thus may interact with molecular and cold neutral clouds. There is a tendency for the planetary nebula interaction region to be parallel to the Galactic plane. We found that ~73% of interacting planetary nebulae have inclination angles (defined as the angles that join the planetary nebula centroid and the interaction area or bow shock with the Galactic plane) larger than 45° and ~38% larger than 70°, which highlights the possible effect of interstellar magnetic fields. While it is sometime believed that the interaction preferentially occurs in old planetary nebulae, our analysis indicates that the majority of observed planetary nebulae are in the mid stage of their evolution. The mean inclination angle, Galactic height, linear size, and dynamical age are estimated for each stage of interaction. The results indicate strong correlations between the mean inclination angle and the above parameters.
Key words: planetary nebulae: general / methods: statistical
© ESO, 2012
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