Abundances of planetary nebulae in the Galactic bulge

Pottasch, S.R. and Bernard-Salas, J. (2015). Abundances of planetary nebulae in the Galactic bulge. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 583, article no. A71.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201425377


Context. Planetary nebulae (PNe) abundances are poorly known for those nebulae in the Galactic bulge. This is because of the high and uneven extinction in the bulge which makes visual spectral measurements difficult. In addition, the extinction corrections may be unreliable. Elements considered are O, N, Ne, S, Ar, and Cl.

Aims. We determine the abundances in 19 PNe, 18 of which are located in the bulge. This doubles the number of PNe abundance determinations in the bulge. The Galactic abundance gradient is discussed for five elements.

Methods. The mid-infrared spectra measured by the Spitzer Space Telescope are used to determine the abundances. This part of the spectrum is little affected by extinction for which an uncertain correction is no longer necessary. In addition the connection with the visible and ultraviolet spectrum becomes simpler because hydrogen lines are observed both in the infrared and in the visible spectra. In this way we more than double the number of PNe with reliable abundances.

Results. Reliable abundances are obtained for O, N, Ne, S, and Ar for Galactic bulge PNe.

Conclusions. The Galactic abundance gradient is less steep than previously thought. This is especially true for oxygen. The sulfur abundance is reliable because all stages of ionization expected have been measured. It is not systematically low compared to oxygen as has been found for some Galactic PNe.

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