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Discovery, Photometry, and Kinematics of Planetary Nebulae in M 82

  • Johnson, L. C.
  • Mendez, R. H.
  • Teodorescu, A. M.
Published Article
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2009
Submission Date
Apr 01, 2009
DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/697/2/1138
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Using an [OIII]5007 on-band/off-band filter technique, we identify 109 planetary nebulae (PNe) candidates in M 82, using the FOCAS instrument at the 8.2m Subaru Telescope. The use of ancillary high-resolution HST ACS H-alpha imaging aided in discriminating PNe from contaminants such as supernova remnants and compact HII regions. Once identified, these PNe reveal a great deal about the host galaxy; our analysis covers kinematics, stellar distribution, and distance determination. Radial velocities were determined for 94 of these PNe using a method of slitless spectroscopy, from which we obtain a clear picture of the galaxy's rotation. Overall, our results agree with those derived by CO(2-1) and HI measurements that show a falling, near-Keplerian rotation curve. However, we find a subset of our PNe that appear to lie far above the plane (~1 kpc), yet these objects appear to be rotating as fast as objects close to the plane. These objects will require further study to determine if they are members of a halo population, or if they can be interpreted as a manifestation of a thickened disk as a consequence of a past interaction with M 81. In addition, [OIII]5007 emission line photometry of the PNe allows the construction of a planetary nebula luminosity function (PNLF). Our PNLF distance determination for M 82 yields a larger distance than those derived using the TRGB, using Cepheid variable stars in nearby group member M 81, or using the PNLF of M 81. We show that this inconsistency most likely stems from our inability to completely correct for internal extinction imparted by this dusty, starburst galaxy. (Abridged)

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