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Paper: IC 4663: The First Unambiguous [WN] Wolf-Rayet Central Star of a Planetary Nebula
Volume: 469, 18th European White Dwarf Workshop (EUROWD12)
Page: 281
Authors: Miszalski, B.; Crowther, P. A.; De Marco, O.; Köppen, J.; Moffat, A. F. J.; Acker, A.; Hillwig, T. C.
Abstract: Several [WC]-type central stars of planetary nebulae (PNe) are known to mimic the spectroscopic appearance of massive carbon-rich or WC-type Wolf-Rayet stars. In stark contrast, no [WN]-type central stars have yet been identified as clear-cut analogues of the common nitrogen-rich or WN-type Wolf-Rayet stars. We have identified the [WN3] central star of IC 4663 to be the first unambiguous example in PNe. The low luminosity nucleus and an asymptotic giant branch (AGB) halo surrounding the main nebula prove the bona-fide PN nature of IC 4663. Model atmosphere analysis reveals the [WN3] star to have an exotic chemical composition of helium (95%), hydrogen (<2%), nitrogen (0.8%), neon (0.2%) and oxygen (0.05%) by mass. Such an extreme helium-dominated composition cannot be predicted by current evolutionary scenarios for hydrogen deficient [WC]-type central stars. Only with the discovery of IC 4663 and its unusual composition can we now connect [WN] central stars to the O(He) central stars in a second H-deficient and He-rich evolutionary sequence, [WN]→O(He), that exists in parallel to the carbon-rich [WC]→PG1159 sequence. This suggests a simpler mechanism, perhaps a binary merger, can better explain H-deficiency in PNe and potentially other H-deficient/He-rich stars. In this respect IC 4663 is the best supported case for a possible merged binary central star of a PN.
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