Observed planetary nebulae as descendants of interacting binary systems

Noam Soker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We examine recent studies on the formation rate of planetary nebulae and find this rate to be about one-third of the formation rate of white dwarfs. This implies that only about one-third of all planetary nebulae that evolve to form white dwarfs are actually bright enough to be observed. This finding corresponds with the claim that it is necessary for a binary companion to interact with the asymptotic giant branch stellar progenitor for the descendant planetary nebulae to be bright enough to be detected. The finding about the formation rate also strengthens O. De Marco's conjecture that the majority of observed planetary nebulae harbor binary systems. In other words, single stars almost never form observed planetary nebulae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L57-L60
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 II
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Planetary nebulae: general
  • Stars: AGB and post-AGB
  • Stars: mass loss

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