Clairmont, an astronomy enthusiast, decided to try to establish the in-depth 3D structure of the Cats Eye to learn more about the potential system that gave it its intricate shape. To do this, he sought out the assistance of Dr. Wolfgang Steffen of The National Autonomous University of Mexico and Nico Koning from the University of Calgary, who developed SHAPE, 3D astrophysical modeling software especially suitable for planetary nebulae.
The scientists used spectral data from the San Pedro Martir National Observatory in Mexico to rebuild the nebulas three-dimensional structures three-dimensional structure. These supply in-depth info on the internal movement of product in the nebula. Together with these information and images from the Hubble Space Telescope, Clairmont built a novel 3D design, developing that rings of high-density gas were twisted around the outer shell of the Cats Eye. Remarkably, the rings are practically perfectly symmetric to each other, recommending they were formed by a jet– a stream of high-density gas ejected in opposite instructions from the nebulas main star.
The jet exhibited precession, comparable to the wobbling movement of a spinning top. As the jet wobbled, or precessed, it described a circle, producing the rings around the Cats Eye. The data shows the rings are only partial, implying the precessing jet never finished a full 360-degree rotation, and that the development of the jets was just a short-term phenomenon. The period of outflows is a crucial piece of information for the theory of planetary nebulae. Because only binary stars can power a precessing jet in a planetary nebula, the groups findings are strong evidence that a system of this type exists at the center of the Cats Eye.
As the angle and direction of the jet changed with time, it likely formed all of the features seen in the Cats Eye, including the knots and jets. Using the three-dimensional design, the scientists were able to calculate the tilt and opening angle of the precessing jet based on the orientation of the rings.
Ryan Clairmont, the lead author of the paper and now a prospective undergrad at Stanford University stated, “When I first saw the Cats Eye Nebula, it was impressive. It had a lovely, completely symmetric structure. I was a lot more shocked that its 3D structure was not fully understood.”.
He continued, “It was extremely rewarding to be able to do astrophysical research study of my own that actually has an impact in the field. Precessing jets in planetary nebulae are relatively uncommon, so its important to understand how they contribute to the shaping of more complex systems like the Cats Eye. Ultimately, comprehending how they form provides insight into the eventual fate of our Sun, which will itself one day become a planetary nebula.”.
Referral: “Morphokinematic modelling of the point-symmetric Cats Eye, NGC 6543: Ring-like residues of a precessing jet” by Ryan Clairmont, Wolfgang Steffen and Nico Koning, 15 September 2022, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.DOI: 10.1093/ mnras/stac2375.
An image of the Cats Eye Nebula that was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/ K.Arcand, SYSTEM Sounds (M. Russo, A. Santaguida).
Astronomers Discover Rings with Near-Perfect Symmetry in the Cats Eye Nebula.
Scientists have built the very first computer-generated three-dimensional design of the Cats Eye Nebula, revealing a pair of symmetric rings around the nebulas external shell. The rings proportion recommends they were formed by a precessing jet originating from the nebulas central star. This offers strong proof for a binary star at the center of the nebula. The study was just recently published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and was led by Ryan Clairmont..
A planetary nebula kinds when a passing away star ejects its outer layer of gas, developing a vibrant, shell-like structure unique to planetary nebulae. NGC 6543, or the Cats Eye Nebula, is one of the most intricate planetary nebulae known.
A side-by-side contrast of the three-dimensional design of the Cats Eye Nebula developed by Clairmont and the Cats Eye Nebula as photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope. Ryan Clairmont (left), NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) (right) (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).
Due to the fact that it could not be described by previously accepted theories for planetary nebula development, the nebulas mystical structure confounded astrophysicists. More current research study showed that precessing jets were possible shaping mechanisms in complicated planetary nebulae such as NGC 6543, however lacked a detailed design.
Researchers have actually constructed the very first computer-generated three-dimensional model of the Cats Eye Nebula, exposing a pair of symmetric rings around the nebulas external shell. A planetary nebula forms when a dying star ejects its external layer of gas, developing a vibrant, shell-like structure unique to planetary nebulae. NGC 6543, or the Cats Eye Nebula, is one of the most intricate planetary nebulae known. Given that just binary stars can power a precessing jet in a planetary nebula, the groups findings are strong evidence that a system of this type exists at the center of the Cats Eye.
Precessing jets in planetary nebulae are relatively uncommon, so its crucial to understand how they contribute to the shaping of more complex systems like the Cats Eye.