Searching for Companion Stars to Planetary Nebula Central Stars Using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy
Arts and Sciences
Physics and Astronomy
When a star like our Sun dies, it swells into a red giant and then expels its outer layers to form a planetary nebula surrounding the remaining core of the star. The outer layers then disperse into space leaving the core of the star behind as a white dwarf. The cause of the many exotic shapes in planetary nebulae is unknown. However, it is thought that binary stars may play a role in the shaping process. In this project, we are searching for binary central stars in planetary nebulae by near-infrared spectral analysis to detect cool companion stars. A companion can also be detected from Doppler Shifts due to orbital motion. In addition, spectral analysis gives us the stellar temperatures, narrowing the possible parameter space for future modeling of any detected binary systems.
Rotter, Hannah, "Searching for Companion Stars to Planetary Nebula Central Stars Using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy" (2015). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 440.