PM 1-322: New variable planetary nebula

Paunzen, E.; Bernhard, K.; Budaj, J.; Hambsch, F. -J.; Hümmerich, S.; Jones, D.; Krtička, J.
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Astronomy and Astrophysics

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Context. Spectra of planetary nebulae (PNe) are characterised by strong forbidden emission lines and often also by an infrared (IR) excess. A few PNe show dust obscuration events and/or harbour long-period binaries. Some post-asymptotic giant branch stars, symbiotic stars, or B[e] stars may feature similar characteristics. Recently, dust clouds eclipsing white dwarfs were also detected.
Aims: We report the discovery of an object with a very peculiar variability pattern that bears signatures compatible with the above-mentioned classes of objects. The object is ZTFJ201451.59+120353.4 and identifies with PM 1-322.
Methods: The object was discovered in Zwicky Transient Facility archival data and investigated with historical and newly obtained photometric and spectroscopic observations.
Results: The ZTF r and g data show a one magnitude deep, eclipse-like event with a duration of about half a year that occurred in 2022. The variability pattern of the star is further characterised by several dimming events in the optical region that are accompanied by simultaneous brightenings in the red and IR regions. Apart from that, two fast eruption-like events were recorded in ZTF r data. Archival data from WISE indicate long-term variability with a possible period of 6 or 12 yr. Our follow-up time series photometry reveals a stochastic short-term variability with an amplitude of about 0.1 mag on a timescale of about one hour. The spectral energy distribution is dominated by IR radiation. Our high-resolution spectroscopy shows strong forbidden emission lines from highly ionised species and symmetric double-peaked emission in Hα, which is very different from what is seen in earlier spectra obtained in 2007.
Conclusions: Several explanatory scenarios are presented. Our most likely interpretation is that our target object involves a hot central star surrounded by gaseous and dusty disks, an extended nebula, and a possible companion star. Further observations are required to shed more light on the true nature of this enigmatic object.
Related projects
Izquierda - Imagen RGB de la nebulosa de Orión y M43 obtenida filtros estrechos con la cámara WFC en el INT: H alfa (rojo), [S II] 6716+30 (verde), [O III] 5007 (azul). Derecha - Imagen en falso color de la nebulosa planetaria NGC 6778. En azul se ve la emisión en la línea de O II tomada con el filtro sintonizable azul del instrumento OSIRIS en el GTC; en verde imagen con el filtro estrecho de [O III] del Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT).
Physics of Ionized Nebulae

The research that is being carried out by the group can be condensed into two main lines: 1) Study of the structure, dynamics, physical conditions and chemical evolution of Galactic and extragalactic ionized nebulae through detailed analysis and modelization of their spectra. Investigation of chemical composition gradients along the disk of our

García Rojas