K 1-6: An Asymmetric Planetary Nebula with a Binary Central Star

David Frew, Jeff Stranger, Michael Fitzgerald, Quentin Parker, Lena Danaia, David McKinnon, Martin Guerrero, John Hedberg, Robert Hollow, Yvonne An, Shu Han Bor, Isabel Colman, Claire Graham-White, Qing Wen Li, Juliette Mai, Katerina Papadakis, Julia Picone-Murray, Melanie Vo Hoang, Vivian Yean

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We present new imaging data and archival multiwavelength observations of the little-studied emission nebula K 1-6 and its central star. Narrow-band images in H' (+[N II]) and [O III] taken with the Faulkes Telescope North reveal a stratified, asymmetric, elliptical nebula surrounding a central star which has the colours of a late G or early K-type subgiant or giant. GALEX ultraviolet images reveal a very hot subdwarf or white dwarf coincident in position with this star. The cooler, optically dominant star is strongly variable with a period of 21.312 ± 0.008 days, and is possibly a high-amplitude member of the RS CVn class, although an FK Com classification is also possible. Archival ROSAT data provide good evidence that the cool star has an active corona. We conclude that K 1-6 is most likely an old bona fide planetary nebula at a distance of ~1.0 kpc, interacting with the interstellar medium, and containing a binary or ternary central star. The observations and data analyses reported in this paper were conducted in conjunction with Year 11 high school students as part of an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant science education project, denoted Space To Grow, conducted jointly by professional astronomers, educational researchers, teachers, and high-school students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-94
Number of pages12
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


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