Distances to Planetary Nebulae Using Astrometric Data of Gaia DR2

  • Eman Algarni Astronomy and space science department, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah
Keywords: Distances, Gaia DR2, Planetary nebulae, general


The present work is dedicated to deriving the distances of Galactic planetary nebulae using the parallax measurements of Gaia Data Release 2 (DR2). By applying an accurate calibrating sample of distances derived from Gaia DR2, we aim to examine the consistency between Gaia DR2 trigonometric distance and prior trigonometric distances as well as other individual methods usually used for distance determination. We started by searching the literatures for confirmed planetary nebulae (PNe), known up to this time, followed by discussing the method used for selecting PNe central stars from Gaia DR2. We were able to identify 2170 Gaia DR2 sources classified as PNe, from which we ignored all sources with negative parallax values, unmeasured parallax, and unmeasured colours. Only true CSs with parallax uncertainties less than 25% were adopted. As a result, a sample composed of roughly 200 PNe with highly accurate parallax measurements was selected. By comparing Gaia DR2 trigonometric distances with the previous ground-based trigonometric distances and those obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope we found that: (1) The ground-based trigonometric distances obtained by Pottasch (1996) [1] and Gutiérrez-Moreno et al. (1999) [15] perfectly matched Gaia DR2 distances. However, the trigonometric distances given by Harris et al. (2007) [5] show somewhat smaller values; (2) The space-based distances, using HST [16], are slightly higher than that of Gaia DR2 with an average ratio of 1.1. By comparing Gaia DR2 trigonometric distances with other individual distance methods we concluded that the spectroscopic method is the best subsequent method for determining the PN distance after the trigonometric method. Applying other methods should take with care especially the gravity method.


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