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The spectrum of the variable planetary nebula IC 4997
Hyung, Siek; Aller, Lawrence H.; Feibelman, Walter A.
AA(University of California, Los Angeles, CA, US), AB(University of California, Los Angeles, CA, US), AC(NASA. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, US)
The Astrophysical Journal: Supplement Series, vol. 93, no. 2, p. 465-483 (ApJS Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Astronomical Models, Astronomical Spectroscopy, Interstellar Extinction, Interstellar Matter, Planetary Nebulae, Spectrum Analysis, Infrared Spectroscopy, Iue, Line Spectra, Near Infrared Radiation, Plasma Diagnostics, Stellar Luminosity, Ultraviolet Spectra, Ultraviolet Spectroscopy, Wavelengths
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The compact, dusty, presumably young planetary nebula (PN) IC 4997 has been studied extensively since the variability of the lambda 4363/lambda 4340 ratio was established in 1956. Since 1938, other nebular lines have shown changes. IC 4997 is also unique because of the great density range revealed by its spectrum which goes in excitation from Mg I to (Ar IV). We present a detailed listing of spectral lines from 360 to 1005 nm. The diagnostic diagram shows that the spectrum can be interpreted only in terms of strata with a huge density gamut. Essential spectral features can be reproduced approximately by a model consisting of a geometrically thin shell of density around 107 atoms cm-3, surrounded by a much larger shell with a density of about 104 atoms cm-3. The actual, certainly more complex structure can be evaluated only when high resolution spatial imaging is at hand. The usual method of getting abundances from N(ion)/N(H(+)) and ionization correction factors (ICFs) cannot be applied here. It is argued that a reasonable theoretical model that represents the spectrum provides a valid initial approximation to nebular abundances. We propose that the chemical composition of IC 4997 does not differ greatly from that of the Sun. The finally adopted model suggests that the ejection of the material destined to form the inner shell occurred between 1900 and 1960, but observational evidence of such an ejection event is lacking. Perhaps the shell was accelerated. A need for further study is emphasized, especially the role of dust which appears to contribute 2% of the total mass. More attention to this object is recommended. An accurate measurement of its distance is especially desirable.

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