IMAGING THE ELUSIVE H-POOR GAS IN THE HIGH adf PLANETARY NEBULA NGC 6778
Astrophysical Journal Letters
We present the first direct image of the high-metallicity gas component in a planetary nebula (NGC 6778), taken with the OSIRIS Blue Tunable Filter centered on the O II 4649+50 angstroms optical recombination lines (ORLs) at the 10.4m Gran Telescopio Canarias. We show that the emission of these faint O II ORLs is concentrated in the central parts of the planetary nebula and is not spatially coincident either with emission coming from the bright [O III] 5007 angstroms collisionally excited line
... CEL) or the bright H alpha recombination line. From monochromatic emission line maps taken with VIMOS at the 8.2m Very Large Telescope, we find that the spatial distribution of the emission from the auroral [O III] 4363 line resembles that of the O II ORLs but differs from nebular [O III] 5007 CEL distribution, implying a temperature gradient inside the planetary nebula. The centrally peaked distribution of the O II emission and the differences with the [O III] and H I emission profiles are consistent with the presence of an H-poor gas whose origin may be linked to the binarity of the central star. However, determination of the spatial distribution of the ORLs and CELs in other PNe, and a comparison of their dynamics is needed to further constrain the geometry and ejection mechanism of the metal-rich (H-poor) component and hence, understand the origin of the abundance discrepancy problem in PNe.