Searching for binary central stars of planetary nebulae with Kepler

Dimitri Douchin*, George H. Jacoby, Orsola De Marco, Steve B. Howell, Mattias Kronberger

*Corresponding author for this work

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

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    The Kepler Observatory offers unprecedented photometric precision (<1 mmag) and cadence for monitoring the central stars of planetary nebulae, allowing the detection of tiny periodic light curve variations, a possible signature of binarity. With this precision free from the observational gaps dictated by weather and lunar cycles, we are able to detect companions at much larger separations and with much smaller radii than ever before. We have been awarded observing time to obtain light-curves of the central stars of the six confirmed and possible planetary nebulae in the Kepler field, including the newly discovered object Kn 61, at cadences of both 30 min and 1 min. Of these six objects, we could confirm for three a periodic variability consistent with binarity. Two others are variables, but the initial data set presents only weak periodicities. For the central star of Kn 61, Kepler data will be available in the near future.

    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 pages2
    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


    • binaries: close
    • planetary nebulae: individual (A 61, NGC 6826, NGC 4742, Kn 61, Pa 5, PaTe 1)


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