Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia Society
Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Heavy Element Abundances in Planetary Nebulae: A Theorist’s Perspective

Amanda I. Karakas A C and Maria Lugaro B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Mount Stromlo Observatory, Cotter Road, Weston Creek, ACT 2611

B Centre for Stellar and Planetary Astrophysics, Monash University, PO Box 28M, Clayton, Vic 3800

C Corresponding author. Email: akarakas@mso.anu.edu.au

Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia 27(2) 227-231 https://doi.org/10.1071/AS09026
Submitted: 28 June 2009  Accepted: 7 September 2009   Published: 31 May 2010

Abstract

The determination of heavy element abundances from planetary nebula (PN) spectra provides an exciting opportunity to study the nucleosynthesis occurring in the progenitor asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star. We perform post-processing calculations on AGB models of a large range of mass and metallicity to obtain predictions for the production of neutron-capture elements up to the first s-process peak at strontium. We find that solar metallicity intermediate-mass AGB models provide a reasonable match to the heavy element composition of Type I PNe. Likewise, many of the Se and Kr enriched PNe are well fitted by lower mass models with solar or close-to-solar metallicities. However, those objects most enriched in Kr and those PN with sub-solar Se/O ratios are difficult to explain with AGB-nucleosynthesis models. Furthermore, we compute s-process abundance predictions for low-mass AGB models of very low metallicity ([Fe/H] ≈ –2.3) using both scaled solar and an α-enhanced initial composition. For these models, O is dredged to the surface, which means that abundance ratios measured relative to this element (e.g. X/O) do not provide a reliable measure of initial abundance ratios, or of production within the star owing to internal nucleosynthesis.

Keyword: abundances — ISM: abundances — planetary nebulae: general — stars: AGB and post-AGB


Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Quentin Parker for organising the MASH workshop and for his patience in waiting for this paper! A.I.K. acknowledges support from the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Projects funding scheme (project number DP0664105). M.L. is supported by the Monash Research Fellowship.


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