Constraints on common envelope magnetic fields from observations of jets in planetary nebulae

James Tocknell*, Orsola De Marco, Mark Wardle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)
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The common envelope (CE) interaction describes the swallowing of a nearby companion by a growing, evolving star. CEs that take place during the asymptotic giant branch phase of the primary may lead to the formation of a planetary nebula (PN) with a post-CE close binary in the middle. We have used published observations of masses and kinematics of jets in four post-CE PN to infer physical characteristics of the CE interaction. In three of the four systems studied, Abell 63, ETHOS 1 and the Necklace PN, the kinematics indicate that the jets were launched a few thousand years before the CE and we favour a scenario where this happened before Roche lobe overflow, although better models of wind accretion and wind Roche lobe overflow are needed. The magnetic fields inferred to launch pre-CE jets are of the order of a few gauss. In the fourth case, NGC 6778, the kinematics indicate that the jets were launched about 3000 yr after the CE interaction. Magnetic fields of the order of a few hundreds to a few thousands gauss are inferred in this case, approximately in line with predictions of post-CE magnetic fields. However, we remark that in the case of this system, we have not been able to find a reasonable scenario for the formation of the two jet pairs observed: the small orbital separation may preclude the formation of even one accretion disc able to supply the necessary accretion rate to cause the observed jets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2014-2024
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2014 The Authors. First published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 439(2), 2014-2024. The original publication is available at, published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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