Spatially resolved physical and chemical properties of the planetary nebula NGC 3242⋆
1 Departamento de Física e Química, Universidade Federal de Itajubá, Itajubá MG, Brazil
2 Observatório do Valongo, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Ladeira Pedro Antonio 43, 20080-090 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
3 Argelander-Institut für Astronomie, University of Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany
4 Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, 38200 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
5 Departamento de Astrofísica, Universidad de La Laguna, 38206 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
Received: 5 July 2013
Accepted: 17 October 2013
Aims. Optical integral-field spectroscopy was used to investigate the planetary nebula NGC 3242. We analysed the main morphological components of this source, including its knots, but not the halo. In addition to revealing the properties of the physical and chemical nature of this nebula, we also provide reliable spatially resolved constraints that can be used for future photoionisation modelling of the nebula. The latter is ultimately necessary to obtain a fully self-consistent 3D picture of the physical and chemical properties of the object.
Methods. The observations were obtained with the VIMOS instrument attached to VLT-UT3. Maps and values for specific morphological zones for the detected emission-lines were obtained and analysed with routines developed by the authors to derive physical and chemical conditions of the ionised gas in a 2D fashion.
Results. We obtained spatially resolved maps and mean values of the electron densities, temperatures, and chemical abundances for specific morphological structures in NGC 3242. These results show the pixel-to-pixel variations of the the small- and large-scale structures of the source. These diagnostic maps provide information free from the biases introduced by traditional single long-slit observations.
Conclusions. In general, our results are consistent with a uniform abundance distribution for the object, whether we look at abundance maps or integrated fluxes from specified morphological structures. The results indicate that special care should be taken with the calibration of the data and that only data with extremely good signal-to-noise ratio and spectral coverage should be used to ensure the detection of possible spatial variations.
Key words: planetary nebulae: general / planetary nebulae: individual: NGC 3242 / ISM: abundances
© ESO, 2013