New Astronomy, 57, 6-13 (2017/November-0)
The Gaia Data Release 1 parallaxes and the distance scale of Galactic planetary nebulae.
STANGHELLINI L., BUCCIARELLI B., LATTANZI M.G. and MORBIDELLI R.
Abstract (from CDS):
In this paper we gauge the potentiality of Gaia in the distance scale calibration of planetary nebulae (PNe) by assessing the impact of DR1 parallaxes of central stars of Galactic PNe (CSPNe) against known physical relations. For selected PNe targets with state-of-the-art data on angular sizes and fluxes, we derive the distance-dependent parameters of the classical distance scales, i.e., physical radii and ionized masses, from DR1 parallaxes; we propagate the uncertainties in the estimated quantities and evaluate their statistical properties in the presence of large relative parallax errors; we populate the statistical distance scale diagrams with this sample and discuss its significance in light of existing data and current calibrations. We glean from DR1 parallaxes 8 CSPNe with S/N> 1. We show that this set of potential calibrators doubles the number of extant trigonometric parallaxes (from HST and ground-based), and increases by two orders of magnitude the domain of physical parameters probed previously. We then use the combined sample of suitable trigonometric parallaxes to fit the physical-radius-to-surface-brightness relation. This distance scale calibration, although preliminary, appears solid on statistical grounds, and suggestive of new PNe physics. With the tenfold improvement in PNe number statistics and astrometric accuracy expected from future Gaia releases the new distance scale, already very intriguing, will be definitively constrained.