ISO Spectroscopy of Proto-Planetary NebulaeThe goal of this program was to determine the chemical properties of the dust shells around protoplanetary nebulae (PPNs) through a study of their short-wavelength (6-45 micron) infrared spectra. PPNs are evolved stars in transition from the asymptotic giant branch to the planetary nebula stages. Spectral features in the 10 to 20 gm region indicate the chemical nature (oxygen- or carbon-rich), and the strengths of the features relate to the physical properties of the shells. A few bright carbon-rich PPNs have been observed to show PAH features and an unidentified 21 micron emission feature. We used the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) to observe a sample of IRAS sources that have the expected properties of PPNs and for which we have accurate positions. Some of these have optical counterparts (proposal SWSPPN01) and some do not (SWSPPN02). We had previously observed these from the ground with near-infrared photometry and, for those with visible counterparts, visible photometry and spectroscopy, which we have combined with these new ISO data in the interpretation of the spectra. We have completed a study of the unidentified emission feature at 21 micron in eight sources. We find the shape of the feature to be the same in all of the sources, with no evidence of any substructure. The ratio of the emission peak to continuum ranges from 0.13 to 1.30. We have completed a study of seven PPNs and two other carbon-rich objects for which we had obtained ISO 2-45 micron observations. The unidentified emission features at 21 and 30 micron were detected in six sources, including four new detections of the 30 micron feature. This previously unresolved 30 micron feature was resolved and found to consist of a broad feature peaking at 27.2 micron (the "30 micron" feature) and a narrower feature peaking at 25.5 micron (the "26 micron" feature). This new 26 micron feature is detected in eight sources and is particularly strong in IRAS Z02229+6208 and 16594-4656. The unidentified features at 3.3, 6,2, 7.7, and 11.3 micron, which are commonly observed in planetary nebulae and HII regions, are also seen in these PPNs. However, their strengths relative to the continuum plateaus at 8 and 12 micron are weaker than in planetary nebulae. The 6.9 micron feature, seen almost exclusively in PPNs, is strong. The spectral energy distributions of these PPNs were fitted with a radiative-transfer model, taking into account the emission features at 21, 26, and 30 micron. A significant fraction of the total energy output is emitted in these features: as high as 20% in the 30 micron feature and 8% in the 21 micron feature. The fact that so much energy is carried in these features suggests that the material responsible for this feature must be made of abundant elements, and most likely involves carbon. The change in the in feature strengths from stronger aliphatic bonds in PPNs to stronger aromatic bonds in PNs suggests a chemical and physical evolution in the carbonaceous circumstellar dust during this transition time scale of a few thousand years.
Hrivnak, Bruce J. (Valparaiso Univ. IN United States)