Early results from ChanPLaNS: Mystery of hard X-ray emitting CSPNe

Rodolfo Montez, J. H. Kastner, B. Balick, E. Behar, E. Blackman, V. Bujarrabal, Y. H. Chu, R. Corradi, O. De Marco, A. Frank, D. Frew, M. Guerrero, S. Kwok, J. A. Lopez, B. Miszalski, J. Nordhaus, Q. Parker, R. Sahai, C. Sandin, D. SchoenbernerN. Soker, J. Sokoloski, W. Steffen, T. Ueta, E. Villaver, A. Zijlstra

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


We are presently using the Chandra X-ray Observatory to conduct the first systematic X-ray survey of planetary nebulae (PNe) in the solar neighborhood. The Chandra Planetary Nebula Survey (ChanPlaNS) is a 570 ks Chandra Cycle 12 Large Program targeting 21 high-excitation PNe within ∼1.5 kpc of Earth. When complete, this survey will provide a suite of new X-ray diagnostics that will inform the study of late stellar evolution, binary star astrophysics, and wind interactions. Among the early results of ChanPlaNS (when combined with archival Chandra data) is a surprisingly high detection rate of relatively hard X-ray emission from CSPNe. Specifically, X-ray point sources are clearly detected in roughly half of the ∼30 high-excitation PNe observed thus far by Chandra, and all but one of these X-ray-emitting CSPNe display evidence for a hard (few MK) component in their Chandra spectra. Only the central star of the Dumbbell appears to display "pure" hot blackbody emission from a ∼200 kK hot white dwarf photosphere in the X-ray band. Potential explanations for the"excess" hard X-ray emission detected from the other CSPNe include late-type companions (heretofore undetected, in most cases) whose coronae have been rejuvenated by recent interactions with the mass-losing WD progenitor, non-LTE effects in hot white dwarf photospheres, self-shocking variable winds from the central star, and slow (re-)accretion of previously ejected red giant envelope mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPlanetary Nebulae
Subtitle of host publicationAn Eye to the Future
EditorsArturo Manchado, Letizia Stanghellini, Detlef Schonberner
Number of pages2
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
ISSN (Print)1743-9213
ISSN (Electronic)1743-9221


  • X-rays: stars
  • planetary nebulae: general
  • stars: white dwarfs
  • surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Space and Planetary Science


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