Chandra ACIS-S imaging spectroscopy of anomalously faint X-ray emission from Comet 103P/Hartley 2 during the EPOXI encounter

C.M. Lisse, D.J. Christian, S.J. Wolk, K. Dennerl, D. Bodewits, M.R. Combi, S.T. Lepri, T.H. Zurbuchen, J.Y. Li, N. Dello-Russo, M.J.S. Belton, M.M. Knight
2013 Icarus (New York, N.Y. 1962)  
The planetary nebula (PN) A30 is believed to have undergone a very late thermal pulse resulting in the ejection of knots of hydrogen-poor material. Using HST images we have detected the angular expansion of these knots and derived an age of 850+280-150 yr. To investigate the spectral and spatial properties of the soft X-ray emission detected by ROSAT, we have obtained Chandra and XMM-Newton observations of A30. The X-ray emission from A30 can be separated into two components: a point-source at
more » ... he central star and diffuse emission associated with the hydrogen-poor knots and the cloverleaf structure inside the nebular shell. To help us assess the role of the current stellar wind in powering this X-ray emission, we have determined the stellar parameters of the central star of A 30 using a non-LTE model fit to its optical and UV spectrum. The spatial distribution and spectral properties of the diffuse X-ray emission is suggestive that it is generated by the post-born-again and present fast stellar winds interacting with the hydrogen-poor ejecta of the born-again event. This emission can be attributed to shock-heated plasma, as the hydrogen-poor knots are ablated by the stellar winds, under which circumstances the efficient mass-loading of the present fast stellar wind raises its density and damps its velocity to produce the observed diffuse soft X-rays. Charge transfer reactions between the ions of the stellar winds and material of the born-again ejecta has also been considered as a possible mechanism for the production of diffuse X-ray emission, and upper limits on the expected X-ray production by this mechanism have been derived. The origin of the X-ray emission from the central star of A 30 is puzzling: shocks in the present fast stellar wind and photospheric emission can be ruled out, while the development of a new, compact hot bubble confining the fast stellar wind seems implausible.
doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2012.09.025 fatcat:tdwzs7kbkzagpkbtncsqqrzo7u