Dust & Abundances of Metal-Poor Planetary Nebulae in the Galactic Anti-Center

Pagomenos, George J. S.; Bernard-Salas, Jeronimo and Sloan, G. C. (2017). Dust & Abundances of Metal-Poor Planetary Nebulae in the Galactic Anti-Center. In: Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union (Liu, Xiaowei; Stanghellini, Letizia and Karakas, Amanda eds.), Planetary Nebulae: Multi-Wavelength Probes of Stellar and Galactic Evolution, pp. 341–342.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1743921317000692


Much of the new dust in the local ISM is produced in the last phases of stellar evolution of low- and intermediate-mass stars on the Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB). Despite its importance, our knowledge of how dust properties depend on metallicity is limited. Studies of planetary nebulae in irregular galaxies in the Local Group (mostly focused on the LMC and SMC) have revealed a diverse spectral zoo and shown that low metallicity favours carbon-rich dust production by AGB stars. However, at ~1/3 and ~1/5 times the solar metallicity respectively, they provide two snapshots of dust composition at low metallicity, emphasising the need to investigate a region with a range of metallicity values. With its abundance gradient, the Milky Way fits this criterion and provides a good opportunity to observe the dust composition over a large metallicity range. In particular the Galactic anti-center, which is largely unexplored beyond galactocentric distances of 10 kpc, allows us to study the AGB dust a priori assumed to be metal-poor as well as exploring the extent of the Galactic abundance gradient. We analyse a Spitzer spectroscopic sample of 23 planetary nebulae towards the anti-center in order to understand how the metallicity gradient extends beyond 10 kpc from the Galactic center and to observe the dust composition in this region of our Galaxy. We find that the abundance gradients of Ne, S and Ar continue to distances of around 20 kpc (albeit with a large scatter) and the dust emission shows a carbon-rich chemistry similar to that in the Magellanic Clouds.

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