High-resolution imaging and the H-R diagram of galactic bulge planetary nebulae

M. A. Dopita, J. P. Henry, I. R. Tuohy, B. L. Webster, E. H. Roberts, Y. I. Byun, L. L. Cowie, A. Songaila

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Images of six Galactic bulge planetary nebulae in the [O III] 5007 Å line have been obtained at Mauna Kea at the unprecedented resolution of 0″.35 (FWHM), by the technique of real-time photon counting followed by image reconstruction. The results are compared with those obtained at radio wavelengths, and optical spectrophotometry of the nebulae is used to construct a self-consistent photoionization model, to derive chemical abundances and to place the central stars on the H-R diagram. This method is shown to produce similar results to the classical Zanstra technique, but with the advantage that objects with high- or low-temperature central stars can be studied with equal facility. All our objects are observed during their excursion toward high temperatures on the H-R diagram. We find that these objects are optically thick, and lie on the good correlation between mass and nebular diameter found by previous authors. We also find a correlation between luminosity and metallicity, which is equivalent to a correlation between metallicity and mass of the planetary nebula nucleus, or between metallicity and stellar age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)640-647
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1990 Dec 20

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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