Binary Central Stars
Only a handful of binary central stars of planetary nebulae (PNe) are known today, due to the difficulty of detecting their companions. Preliminary results from radial velocity surveys, however, seem to indicate that binarity plays a fundamental, rather than marginal role in the evolution of PNe and that the close binary fraction might be much larger than the currently known value of 10-15%. In this review, we list all the known binary central stars, giving an updated census of their numbers and selected characteristics. A review is also given of the techniques used to detect binaries as well as selected characteristics of related stellar classes which might provide constraints (or additional puzzles) to the theory of PN evolution. Finally, we will formulate the conjecture that all PNe derive from binary interactions and suggest that this is not inconsistent with our current knowledge.
Planetary Nebulae in our Galaxy and Beyond
- Pub Date:
- 8 pages, no figures. Review presented at IAU Symposium 234 on Planetary Nebulae. Proceedings in press