Improved observations of faint planetary nebulae in the Magellanic clouds

George H. Jacoby, James B. Kaler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The accuracy of spectrophotometry for Magellanic Cloud planetary nebulae is limited by a number of physical effects and operational difficulties: atmospheric dispersion, wavelength-dependent seeing, pointing and guiding errors, and a background of numerous stars and diffuse emission. We describe procedures to minimize the impact of some of these. We then compare our results for both bright and faint objects with published values. There are a few exceptional cases (e.g., LMC 89), but generally we find that bright planetary nebulae in the Clouds have been observed with high accuracy. On the other hand, observations of the faint sample from Jacoby (1980) suffer seriously from many of these effects. We also compare published λ5007 photometry with new CCD photometry for nine faint planetary nebulae. We find the photographic photometry presented by Jacoby (1980) to be accurate to 0.26 mag. Fluxes for the fainter objects that are derived from spectrophotometry (Boroson & Liebert 1989) are found to be less reliable. In comparison, spectrophotometry using the observational techniques presented in this paper provides reliable absolute fluxes. With these improved observations, we review the correlations presented by Kaler & Jacoby (1990, 1991) between abundance ratios and central star mass. The new results fit our earlier correlation for N/O, strengthen that for He/H, and change little about those for C/O and O/H.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-219
Number of pages11
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 1993


  • Magellanic clouds
  • Planetary nebulae: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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