Planetary nebulae in the Magellanic Clouds and Local Group galaxies

Warren A. Reid*

*Corresponding author for this work

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


The Magellanic Clouds are close enough to the Milky Way to provide an excellent environment in which to study extragalactic PNe. Most of these PNe are bright enough to be spectroscopically observed and spatially resolved. With the latest high resolution detectors on today's large telescopes it is even possible to directly observe a large number of central stars. Magellanic Cloud (MC) PNe provide several astrophysical benefits including low overall extinction and a good sample size covering a large range of dynamic evolutionary timescales while the known distances provide a direct estimation of luminosity and physical dimensions. Multi-wavelength surveys are revealing intriguing differences between MC and Galactic PNe. Over the past 5 years there has been a substantial increase in the number of PNe discovered in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) in particular. Deep surveys have allowed the faint end of the luminosity function to be investigated, finally providing a strong clue to its overall shape. In so doing, the surveys are approaching completeness, estimated at ∼80% in the LMC (∼120 deg 2) and ∼65% in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) (∼20 deg 2). The number of galaxies comprising the Local Group (LG) and its outskirts has been growing steadily over the past 5 years and now numbers 48. Most of the 7 newly discovered galaxies are dwarf spheroidal (dSph) in structure and range from 7.6 to 755 kpc from the Milky Way. Nonetheless, there are no published searches for PNe in any of these galaxies to date. Apart from the LMC and Milky Way, the number of PN discoveries has been very modest and only one additional LG galaxy has been surveyed for PNe over the past 5 years. This paper provides the number of Local Group PNe currently known and estimates each galaxy's total PN population.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPlanetary nebulae
Subtitle of host publicationan eye to the future
EditorsArturo Manchado, Letizia Stanghellini, Detlef Schönberner
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781107019836
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011
Event283rd Symposium of the International Astronomical Union - Perto de la Cruz, Spain
Duration: 25 Jul 201129 Jul 2011

Publication series

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


Conference283rd Symposium of the International Astronomical Union
CityPerto de la Cruz


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