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Using ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have performed observations of the planetary nebula IC 5148. The new study, described in a paper published October 2 on the arXiv pre-print server, unveils the presence of IC 5148 ionized halo and provides fundamental parameters of its central star.
Planetary nebulae (PNe) are expanding shells of gas and dust that have been ejected from a star during the process of its evolution from main sequence star into a red giant or white dwarf. They are relatively rare, but important for astronomers studying the chemical evolution of stars and galaxies. Although IC 5148, a round planetary nebula, was discovered in 1894, it is still not well investigated in detail. The nebula is located in the constellation of Grus, some 3,000 light years away from the Earth. With an expansion rate of about 50 km/s, it is one of the fastest planetary nebulae known to date.
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In order to reveal more properties of IC 5148, a team of researchers led by Daniela Barría of the Catholic University of the North in Chile, has conducted spectroscopic observations of this nebula. For their observational campaign, the astronomers employed VLT's FORS2 and X-SHOOTER spectrographs. "We obtained long-slit low resolution spectroscopy (FORS2@VLT) of the nebula in two position angles, which we used to investigate the nebular structure and its halo in the optical range from 450 to 880 nm. In addition, we used medium resolution spectra taken with X-SHOOTER@VLT ranging from 320...
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