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 article

44 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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