Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been observed in O-rich planetary nebulae. This combination of oxygen-rich and carbon-rich material, known as dual-dust or mixed chemistry, is not expected to be seen around these objects. We recently proposed that PAHs could be formed from the photodissociation of CO in dense tori. Using VISIR/VLT, we spatially resolved the emission of the PAH bands and ionised emission from the [S IV] line, confirming the presence of dense central tori in all the observed O-rich objects. Furthermore, we show that for most of the objects, PAHs are located at the outer edge of these dense/compact tori, while the ionised material is mostly present in the inner parts, consistent with our hypothesis for the formation of PAHs in these systems. The presence of a dense torus has been strongly associated with the action of a central binary star and, as such, the rich chemistry seen in these regions may also be related to the formation of exoplanets in post-common-envelope binary systems.
Why Galaxies Care about AGB Stars III: A Closer Look in Space and Time
- Pub Date:
- August 2015