We examine mechanisms that may explain the luminosities and relatively low temperatures of extended X-ray emission in planetary nebulae. By building a simple flow structure for the wind from the central star during the proto, and early, planetary nebulae phase, we estimate the temperature of the X-ray emitting gas and its total X-ray luminosity. We conclude that in order to account for the X-ray temperature and luminosity, both the evolution of the wind from the central star and the adiabatic cooling of the post-shocked wind’s material must be considered. The X-ray emitting gas results mainly from shocked wind segments that were expelled during the early planetary nebulae phase, when the wind speed was moderate, ~500 km s^−1. Alternatively, the X-ray emitting gas may result from a collimated fast wind blown by a companion to the central star. Heat conduction and mixing between hot and cool regions are likely to occur in some cases and may determine the detailed X-ray morphology of a nebula, but are not required to explain the basic properties of the X-ray emitting gas (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas).
Department, Program, or Center
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)
Noam Soker and Joel H. Kastner 2003 ApJ 583 368 https://doi.org/10.1086/345343
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