We report the serendipitous detection of the planetary nebula NGC 5315 by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The Chandra imaging spectroscopy results indicate that the X-rays from this PN, which harbors a Wolf-Rayet (WR) central star, emanate from a TX 2.5 × 106 K plasma generated via the same wind collisions that have cleared a compact ( 8000 AU radius) central cavity within the nebula. The inferred X-ray luminosity of NGC 5315 is 2.5 × 1032 erg s−1 (0.3-2.0 keV), placing this object among the most luminous such “hot bubble” X-ray sources yet detected within PNe. With the X-ray detection of NGC 5315, objects with WR-type central stars now constitute a clear majority – 2 – of known examples of diffuse X-ray sources among PNe; all such “hot bubble” PN X-ray sources display well-defined, quasi-continuous optical rims. We therefore assert that X-ray-luminous hot bubbles are characteristic of young PNe with large central star wind kinetic energies and closed bubble morphologies. However, the evidence at hand also suggests that processes such as wind and bubble temporal evolution, as well as heat conduction and/or mixing of hot bubble and nebular gas, ultimately govern the luminosity and temperature of superheated plasma within PNe.
Department, Program, or Center
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)
Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 672, Jan 2008
RIT – Main Campus