Abstract

Planetary nebulae contain shells of cold gas and dust whose heating and chemistry is likely driven by UV and X-ray emission from their central stars and from wind-collision-generated shocks. We present the results of a survey of molecular line emissions in the 88 - 235 GHz range from nine nearby (<1.5 kpc) planetary nebulae using the 30 m telescope at the Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique. Rotational transitions of nine molecules, including the well-studied CO isotopologues and chemically important trace species, were observed and the results compared with and augmented by previous studies of molecular gas in PNe. Lines of the molecules HCO+, HNC, HCN, and CN, which were detected in most objects, represent new detections for five planetary nebulae in our study. Flux ratios were analyzed to identify correlations between the central star and/or nebular ultraviolet/X-ray luminosities and the molecular chemistries of the nebulae. Analysis reveals the apparent dependence of the HNC/HCN line ratio on PN central star UV luminosity. There exists no such clear correlation between PN X-rays and various diagnostics of PN molecular chemistry. The correlation between HNC/HCN ratio and central star UV luminosity hints at the potential of molecular emission line studies of PNe for improving our understanding of the role that high-energy radiation plays in the heating and chemistry of photodissociation regions.

Publication Date

12-18-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Student Type

Graduate

Degree Name

Astrophysical Sciences and Technology (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)

Advisor

Joel H. Kastner

Advisor/Committee Member

Andrew Robinson

Advisor/Committee Member

Michael Richmond

Campus

RIT – Main Campus

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