Searching for faint planetary nebulae using the digital sky survey

George H. Jacoby, Matthias Kronberger, Dana Patchick, Philipp Teutsch, Jaakko Saloranta, Michael Howell, Richard Crisp, Dave Riddle, Agǹs Acker, David J. Frew, Quentin A. Parker

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    54 Citations (Scopus)


    Recent Hα surveys such as SHS and IPHAS have improved the completeness of the Galactic planetary nebula (PN) census. We now know of ∼3000 PNe in the Galaxy, but this is far short of most estimates, typically ∼25 000 or more for the total population. The size of the Galactic PN population is required to derive an accurate estimate of the chemical enrichment rates of nitrogen, carbon, and helium. In addition, a high PN count (>20 000) is strong evidence that most main-sequence stars of mass 1-8 M⊙ will go through a PN phase, while a low count (<10 000) argues that special conditions (e.g. close binary interactions) are required to form a PN. We describe a technique for finding hundreds more PNe using the existing data collections of the digital sky surveys, thereby improving the census of Galactic PNe.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)156-165
    Number of pages10
    JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of Australia
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Binaries
    • General - Galaxy
    • General - techniques
    • Miscellaneous
    • Stellar content - planetary nebulae


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