The X-Ray Spectrum of a Planetary Nebula at High Resolution: Chandra Gratings Spectroscopy of BD+30◦3639

Young Sam Yu, Rochester Institute of Technology
Raanan Nordon, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
Joel H. Kastner, Rochester Institute of Technology
John Houck, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ehud Behar, Technion Israel Institute of Technology
Noam Soker, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

This is the pre-print of an article published by the American Astronomical Society. The final, published version is available here:

© 2009 The American Astronomical Society.

Also archived in: arXiv:0806.2281v2 [astro-ph]

Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.


We present the results of the first X-ray gratings spectroscopy observations of a planetary nebula (PN), the X-ray-bright, young BD+30 3639. We observed BD+30 3639 for a total of 300 ks with the Chandra X-ray Observatory's Low Energy Transmission Gratings in combination with its Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer(LETG/ACIS-S). The LETG/ACIS-S spectrum of BD+30 3639 is dominated by H-like resonance lines of O viii and C sc vi and the He-like triplet line complexes of Ne ix and O vii. Other H-like resonance lines, such as N vii, as well as lines of highly ionized Fe, are weak or absent. Continuum emission is evident over the range 6-18 A. Spectral modeling indicates the presence of a range of plasma temperatures from T~1.7x10^6 K to 2.9x10^6 K and an intervening absorbing column N_H~2.4x10^21 cm-2. The same modeling conclusively demonstrates that C and Ne are highly enhanced, with abundance ratios of C/O~15-45 and Ne/O~3.3-5.0 (90% confidence ranges, relative to the solar ratios), while N and Fe are depleted, N/O~0.0-1.0 and Fe/O~0.1-0.4. The intrinsic luminosity of the X-ray source determined from the modeling and the measured flux (F_X = 4.1x10^-13 ergs cm-2 s-1) is L_X~8.6x10^32 erg s-1(assuming D = 1.2kpc). These gratings spectroscopy results are generally consistent with earlier results obtained from X-ray CCD imaging spectroscopy of BD+30 3639, but are far more precise. The tight constraints placed on the (nonsolar) abundances directly implicate the present-day central star -- hence, ultimately, the intershell region of the progenitor asymptotic giant branch star -- as the origin of the shocked plasma now emitting in X-rays.