Planetary nebulae and their mimics: the MASH-MEN project

Rozenn Boissay*, Quentin A. Parker, David J. Frew, Ivan Bojicic

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    The total number of true, likely and possible planetary nebulae (PN) now known in the Milky Way is about 3000, approximately twice the number known a decade ago. The new discoveries are a legacy of the recent availability of wide-field, narrowband imaging surveys, primarily in the light of Hα. The two most important are the AAO/UKST SuperCOSMOS Hα survey SHS and the Isaac Newton photometric Hα survey IPHAS, which are responsible for most of the new discoveries. A serious problem with previous PN catalogs is that several different kinds of astrophysical objects are able to mimic PN in some of their observed properties leading to significant contamination. These objects include H∼II regions and Strömgren zones around young O/B stars, reflection nebulae, Wolf-Rayet ejecta, supernova remnants, Herbig-Haro objects, young stellar objects, B[e] stars, symbiotic stars and outflows, late-type stars, cataclysmic variables, low redshift emission-line galaxies, and even image/detector flaws. PN catalogs such as the Macquarie/AAO/Strasbourg Hα Planetary Nebula catalog (MASH) have been carefully vetted to remove these mimics using the wealth of new wide-field multi-wavelength data and our 100% follow-up spectroscopy to produce a compilation of new PN discoveries of high purity. During this process significant numbers of PN mimics have been identified. The aim of this project is to compile these MASH rejects into a catalog of Miscellaneous Emission Nebulae (MEN) and to highlight the most unusual and interesting examples. A new global analysis of these MEN objects is underway before publishing the MEN catalog online categorizing objects by type together with their spectra and multi-wavelength images.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPlanetary Nebulae: An Eye to the Future
    EditorsArturo Manchado, Letizia Stanghellini, Detlef Schönberner
    Place of PublicationCambridge, UK
    Number of pages2
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

    Publication series

    NameProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
    ISSN (Print)17439213
    ISSN (Electronic)17439221


    • catalogs
    • methods: data analysis
    • planetary nebulae: general
    • stars: AGB and post-AGB
    • stars: fundamental parameters
    • surveys
    • techniques: photometric
    • techniques: spectroscopic


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