Revised simulations of the planetary nebulae luminosity function.
VALENZUELA L.M., MENDEZ R.H. and MILLER BERTOLAMI M.M.
Abstract (from CDS):
We describe a revised procedure for the numerical simulation of planetary nebulae luminosity functions (PNLFs), improving on previous work. The procedure is now based on new H-burning post-asymptotic giant branch (AGB) evolutionary tracks. For a given stellar mass, the new central stars are more luminous and evolve faster. We have slightly changed the distribution of the [O III] 5007 intensities relative to those of Hβand the generation of absorbing factors, while still basing their numerical modeling on empirical information extracted from studies of galactic planetary nebulae (PNs) and their central stars. We argue that the assumption of PNs being completely optically thick to H-ionizing photons leads to conflicts with observations and show that to account for optically thin PNs is necessary. We then use the new simulations to estimate a maximum final mass, clarifying its meaning, and discuss the effect of internal dust extinction as a possible way of explaining the persistent discrepancy between PNLFs and surface brightness fluctuation distances. By adjusting the range of minimum to maximum final mass, it is also possible to explain the observed variety of PNLF shapes at intermediate magnitudes. The new PN formation rates are calculated to be slightly lower than suggested by previous simulations based on older post-AGB evolutionary tracks.