We present the results of Chandra X-Ray Observatory observations of the planetary nebulae (PNs) NGC 40 and Hen 2-99. Both PNs feature late-type Wolf-Rayet central stars that are currently driving fast (!1000 km s^-1), massive winds into denser, slow-moving (~10 kms^-1)material ejected during recently terminated asymptotic giant branch (AGB) evolutionary phases. Hence, these observations provide key tests of models of wind-wind interactions in PNs. In NGC 40, we detect faint, diffuse X-ray emission distributed within a partial annulus that lies nested within a ~40" diameter ring of nebulosity observed in optical and near-infrared images. Hen 2-99 is not detected. The inferred X-ray temperature (Tx ~10^6 K) and luminosity (Lx ~2 x10^30 ergs s^-1) of NGC 40 are the lowest measured thus far for any PN displaying diffuse X-ray emission. These results, combined with the ringlike morphology of the X-ray emission from NGC 40, suggest that its X-ray emission arises from a ‘‘hot bubble’’ that is highly evolved and is generated by a shocked, quasi-spherical fast wind from the central star, as opposed to AGB or post-AGB jet activity. In contrast, the lack of detectable X-ray emission from Hen 2-99 suggests that this PN has yet to enter a phase of strong wind-wind shocks.

Publication Date



© 2005 The American Astronomical Society.

This research was supported by NASA through Chandra award number GO4–5169X issued to Rochester Institute of Technology by the Chandra X-ray Observatory Center, which is operated by Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory for and on behalf of NASA under contract NAS8–03060. O.D. is grateful to Janet Jeppson Asimov for financial support.

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Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)


RIT – Main Campus