It’s not much to look at, but this planetary nebula is pretty much amazing. To understand why, first one must understand why the oxygen content is important. If you check out the Wiki article on metallicity you find that the ages of stars are determined like this. So, essentially, for this planetary nebula, the less oxygen there is, the older it is presumed to be. The HST Proposal even suggested that perhaps this was a Population III PN, but alas, that is not the case. Still, it had astronomers going for a while because it is so oxygen-poor. It’s the most oxygen-poor PN yet known and it’s way out there in our galactic halo.
Other interesting bits include the fact that the central star is a close binary with an orbital period of only a few hours and the possibility of this sucker one day becoming a Type Ia supernova. How cool would that be? You never know when it might happen. Ok, probably not while I’m still alive, but whatever, I’m not giving up hope. You can do it, TS 01!
All of this and more I got from this paper, “The chemical composition of TS 01, the most oxygen-deficient planetary nebula. AGB nucleosynthesis in a metal-poor binary star” by G. Stasinska, et al.
In 2003, HST was instructed to look at this object for more than four hours to bring you this image, meager as it seems.
North is up.
Hubble data is public domain, but I put a lot of work into combining it into beautiful color images. The minimal credit line should read: NASA / ESA / J. Schmidt
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.