PG 1159 star

A PG 1159 star, often also called a pre-degenerate,[1] is a star with a hydrogen-deficient atmosphere that is in transition between being the central star of a planetary nebula and being a hot white dwarf. These stars are hot, with surface temperatures between 75,000 K and 200,000 K,[2] and are characterized by atmospheres with little hydrogen and absorption lines for helium, carbon and oxygen. Their surface gravity is typically between 104 and 106 meters per second squared. Some PG 1159 stars are still fusing helium.[3], § 2.1.1, 2.1.2, Table 2. The PG 1159 stars are named after their prototype, PG 1159-035. This star, found in the Palomar-Green survey of ultraviolet-excess stellar objects,[4] was the first PG 1159 star discovered.

It is thought that the atmospheric composition of PG 1159 stars is odd because, after they have left the asymptotic giant branch, they have reignited helium fusion. As a result, a PG 1159 star's atmosphere is a mixture of material which was between the hydrogen- and helium-burning shells of its AGB star progenitor.[3], §1. They are believed to eventually lose mass, cool, and become DO white dwarfs.[2][5], §4.

Some PG 1159 stars have varying luminosities. These stars vary slightly (5–10%) in brightness due to non-radial gravity wave pulsations within themselves. They vibrate in a number of modes simultaneously, with typical periods between 300 and 3,000 seconds.[6][7], Table 1. The first known star of this type is also PG 1159-035, which was found to be variable in 1979,[8] and was given the variable star designation GW Vir in 1985.[9] These stars are called GW Vir stars, after their prototype, or the class may be split into DOV and PNNV stars.[7], § 1.1;[10]

See also


  1. ^ Jaschek & Jaschek: CARBON C
  2. ^ a b Observational constraints on the evolutionary connection between PG 1159 stars and DO white dwarfs, S. D. Huegelmeyer, S. Dreizler, K. Werner, J. Krzesinski, A. Nitta, and S. J. Kleinman. arXiv:astro-ph/0610746.
  3. ^ a b The Elemental Abundances in Bare Planetary Nebula Central Stars and the Shell Burning in AGB Stars, Klaus Werner and Falk Herwig, Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 118, #840 (February 2006), pp. 183–204
  4. ^ The Palomar-Green catalog of ultraviolet-excess stellar objects, R. F. Green, M. Schmidt, and J. Liebert, Astrophysical Journal Supplement 61 (June 1986), pp. 305–352. CDS ID II/207 Archived 2007-02-20 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Determination of Mass-Loss Rates of PG 1159 Stars from Far-Ultraviolet Spectroscopy, Lars Koesterke and Klaus Werner, Astrophysical Journal 500 (June 1998), pp. L55–L59.
  6. ^ Asteroseismology of white dwarf stars, D. E. Winget, Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 10, #49 (December 14, 1998), pp. 11247–11261. DOI 10.1088/0953-8984/10/49/014.
  7. ^ a b Mapping the Instability Domains of GW Vir Stars in the Effective Temperature-Surface Gravity Diagram, Quirion, P.-O., Fontaine, G., Brassard, P., Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 171 (2007), pp. 219–248.
  8. ^ PG1159-035: A new, hot, non-DA pulsating degenerate, J. T. McGraw, S. G. Starrfield, J. Liebert, and R. F. Green, pp. 377–381 in White Dwarfs and Variable Degenerate Stars, IAU Colloquium #53, ed. H. M. van Horn and V. Weidemann, Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 1979.
  9. ^ The 67th Name-List of Variable Stars, P. N. Kholopov, N. N. Samus, E. V. Kazarovets, and N. B. Perova, Information Bulletin on Variable Stars, #2681, March 8, 1985.
  10. ^ §1, Detection of non-radial g-mode pulsations in the newly discovered PG 1159 star HE 1429-1209, T. Nagel and K. Werner, Astronomy and Astrophysics 426 (2004), pp. L45–L48.
Compact star

In astronomy, the term compact star (or compact object) refers collectively to white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes. It would grow to include exotic stars if such hypothetical, dense bodies are confirmed to exist. All compact objects have a high mass relative to their radius, giving them a very high density, compared to ordinary atomic matter.

Compact stars are often the endpoints of stellar evolution, and are in this respect also called stellar remnants. The state and type of a stellar remnant depends primarily on the mass of the star that it formed from. The ambiguous term compact star is often used when the exact nature of the star is not known, but evidence suggests that it has a very small radius compared to ordinary stars. A compact star that is not a black hole may be called a degenerate star.

Falk Herwig

Falk Herwig (born 1969) is a Canadian astrophysicist who is known for his researches at the University of Victoria. He has over 200 peer-reviewed articles which brought him an h-index of 37.

List of star extremes

A star is a sphere that is mainly composed of hydrogen and plasma, held together by gravity and is able to produce light through nuclear fusion. Stars exhibit many diverse properties, resulting from different masses, volumes, velocities, stage in stellar evolution and even proximity to earth. Some of these properties are considered extreme and sometimes disproportionate by astronomers.

Outline of astronomy

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to astronomy:

Astronomy – studies the universe beyond Earth, including its formation and development, and the evolution, physics, chemistry, meteorology, and motion of celestial objects (such as galaxies, planets, etc.) and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth (such as the cosmic background radiation).

PG 1159-035

PG 1159-035 is the prototypical PG 1159 star after which the class of PG 1159 stars was named. It was discovered in the Palomar-Green survey of ultraviolet-excess stellar objects and, like the other PG 1159 stars, is in transition between being the central star of a planetary nebula and being a white dwarf.The luminosity of PG 1159-035 was observed to vary in 1979, and it was given the variable star designation GW Vir in 1985. Variable PG 1159 stars may be called GW Vir stars, or the class may be split into DOV and PNNV stars. The variability of PG 1139-035, like that of other GW Vir stars, arises from non-radial gravity wave pulsations within itself. Its light curve has been observed intensively by the Whole Earth Telescope over a 264-hour period in March 1989, and over 100 of its vibrational modes have been found in the resulting vibrational spectrum, with periods ranging from 300 to 1,000 seconds.

Planetary nebula

A planetary nebula, abbreviated as PN or plural PNe, is a type of emission nebula consisting of an expanding, glowing shell of ionized gas ejected from red giant stars late in their lives.The term "planetary nebula" is arguably a misnomer because they are unrelated to planets or exoplanets. The true origin of the term was likely derived from the planet-like round shape of these nebulae as observed by astronomers through early telescopes, and although the terminology is inaccurate, it is still used by astronomers today. The first usage may have occurred during the 1780s with the English astronomer William Herschel who described these nebulae as resembling planets; however, as early as January 1779, the French astronomer Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix described in his observations of the Ring Nebula, "... very dim but perfectly outlined; it is as large as Jupiter and resembles a fading planet."All planetary nebulae form at the end of intermediate massed star's lifetimes. They are a relatively short-lived phenomenon, lasting perhaps a few tens of thousands of years, compared to a considerably longer phases of stellar evolution. Once all of the red giant's atmosphere has been dissipated, energetic ultraviolet radiation from the exposed hot luminous core, called a planetary nebula nucleus (PNN), ionizes the ejected material. Absorbed ultraviolet light then energises the shell of nebulous gas around the central star, causing it to appear as a brightly coloured planetary nebula.

Planetary nebulae likely play a crucial role in the chemical evolution of the Milky Way by expelling elements into the interstellar medium from stars where those elements were created. Planetary nebulae are observed in more distant galaxies, yielding useful information about their chemical abundances.

Starting from the 1990s, Hubble Space Telescope images revealed that many planetary nebulae have extremely complex and varied morphologies. About one-fifth are roughly spherical, but the majority are not spherically symmetric. The mechanisms that produce such a wide variety of shapes and features are not yet well understood, but binary central stars, stellar winds and magnetic fields may play a role.

Pulsating white dwarf

A pulsating white dwarf is a white dwarf star whose luminosity varies due to non-radial gravity wave pulsations within itself. Known types of pulsating white dwarfs include DAV, or ZZ Ceti, stars, with hydrogen-dominated atmospheres and the spectral type DA; DBV, or V777 Her, stars, with helium-dominated atmospheres and the spectral type DB; and GW Vir stars, with atmospheres dominated by helium, carbon, and oxygen, and the spectral type PG 1159. (Some authors also include non-PG 1159 stars in the class of GW Vir stars.) GW Vir stars may be subdivided into DOV and PNNV stars; they are not, strictly speaking, white dwarfs but pre-white dwarfs which have not yet reached the white dwarf region on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. A subtype of DQV stars, with carbon-dominated atmospheres, has also been proposed, and in May 2012, the first extremely low mass variable (ELMV) white dwarf was reported.These variables all exhibit small (1%–30%) variations in light output, arising from a superposition of vibrational modes with periods of hundreds to thousands of seconds. Observation of these variations gives asteroseismological evidence about the interiors of white dwarfs.

Super soft X-ray source

A luminous supersoft X-ray source (SSXS, or SSS) is an astronomical source that emits only low energy (i.e., soft) X-rays. Soft X-rays have energies in the 0.09 to 2.5 keV range, whereas hard X-rays are in the 1–20 keV range. SSSs emit few or no photons with energies above 1 keV, and most have effective temperatures below 100 eV. This means that the radiation they emit is highly ionizing and is readily absorbed by the interstellar medium. Most SSSs within our own galaxy are hidden by interstellar absorption in the galactic disk. They are readily evident in external galaxies, with ~10 found in the Magellanic Clouds and at least 15 seen in M31.As of early 2005, more than 100 SSSs have been reported in ~20 external galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), and the Milky Way (MW). Those with luminosities below ~3 x 1038 erg/s are consistent with steady nuclear burning in accreting white dwarfs (WD)s or post-novae. There are a few SSS with luminosities ≥1039 erg/s.Super soft X-rays are believed to be produced by steady nuclear fusion on a white dwarf's surface of material pulled from a binary companion, the so-called close-binary supersoft source (CBSS). This requires a flow of material sufficiently high to sustain the fusion. Contrast this with the nova, where less flow causes the material to only fuse sporadically. Super soft X-ray sources can evolve into type Ia supernova, where a sudden fusion of material destroys the white dwarf, and neutron stars, through collapse.Super soft X-ray sources were first discovered by the Einstein Observatory. Further discoveries were made by ROSAT. Many different classes of objects emit supersoft X-radiation (emission dominantly below 0.5 keV).

Variable star

A variable star is a star whose brightness as seen from Earth (its apparent magnitude) fluctuates.

This variation may be caused by a change in emitted light or by something partly blocking the light, so variable stars are classified as either:

Intrinsic variables, whose luminosity actually changes; for example, because the star periodically swells and shrinks.

Extrinsic variables, whose apparent changes in brightness are due to changes in the amount of their light that can reach Earth; for example, because the star has an orbiting companion that sometimes eclipses it.Many, possibly most, stars have at least some variation in luminosity: the energy output of our Sun, for example, varies by about 0.1% over an 11-year solar cycle.

White dwarf

A white dwarf, also called a degenerate dwarf, is a stellar core remnant composed mostly of electron-degenerate matter. A white dwarf is very dense: its mass is comparable to that of the Sun, while its volume is comparable to that of Earth. A white dwarf's faint luminosity comes from the emission of stored thermal energy; no fusion takes place in a white dwarf. The nearest known white dwarf is Sirius B, at 8.6 light years, the smaller component of the Sirius binary star. There are currently thought to be eight white dwarfs among the hundred star systems nearest the Sun. The unusual faintness of white dwarfs was first recognized in 1910. The name white dwarf was coined by Willem Luyten in 1922.

White dwarfs are thought to be the final evolutionary state of stars whose mass is not high enough to become a neutron star, that of about 10 solar masses. This includes over 97% of the other stars in the Milky Way., § 1. After the hydrogen-fusing period of a main-sequence star of low or medium mass ends, such a star will expand to a red giant during which it fuses helium to carbon and oxygen in its core by the triple-alpha process. If a red giant has insufficient mass to generate the core temperatures required to fuse carbon (around 1 billion K), an inert mass of carbon and oxygen will build up at its center. After such a star sheds its outer layers and forms a planetary nebula, it will leave behind a core, which is the remnant white dwarf. Usually, white dwarfs are composed of carbon and oxygen. If the mass of the progenitor is between 8 and 10.5 solar masses (M☉), the core temperature will be sufficient to fuse carbon but not neon, in which case an oxygen–neon–magnesium white dwarf may form. Stars of very low mass will not be able to fuse helium, hence, a helium white dwarf may form by mass loss in binary systems.

The material in a white dwarf no longer undergoes fusion reactions, so the star has no source of energy. As a result, it cannot support itself by the heat generated by fusion against gravitational collapse, but is supported only by electron degeneracy pressure, causing it to be extremely dense. The physics of degeneracy yields a maximum mass for a non-rotating white dwarf, the Chandrasekhar limit—approximately 1.44 times of M☉—beyond which it cannot be supported by electron degeneracy pressure. A carbon-oxygen white dwarf that approaches this mass limit, typically by mass transfer from a companion star, may explode as a type Ia supernova via a process known as carbon detonation; SN 1006 is thought to be a famous example.

A white dwarf is very hot when it forms, but because it has no source of energy, it will gradually cool as it radiates its energy. This means that its radiation, which initially has a high color temperature, will lessen and redden with time. Over a very long time, a white dwarf will cool and its material will begin to crystallize, starting with the core. The star's low temperature means it will no longer emit significant heat or light, and it will become a cold black dwarf. Because the length of time it takes for a white dwarf to reach this state is calculated to be longer than the current age of the universe (approximately 13.8 billion years), it is thought that no black dwarfs yet exist. The oldest white dwarfs still radiate at temperatures of a few thousand kelvins.

In binary

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