Swift/UVOT photometry of the planetary nebula WeBo1: Unmasking a faint hot companion star

Michael H. Siegel, Erik Hoversten, Howard E. Bond, Michele Stark, Alice A. Breeveld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We present an analysis of over 150 ks of data on the planetary nebula WeBo1 (PN G135.6+01.0) obtained with the Swift Ultraviolet Optical Telescope (UVOT). The central object of this nebula has previously been described as a late-type K giant barium star with a possible hot companion, most likely a young pre-white dwarf. UVOT photometry shows that while the optical photometry is consistent with a large cool object, the near-ultraviolet (NUV) photometry shows far more UV flux than could be produced by any late-type object. Using model stellar atmospheres and a comparison to UVOT photometry for the pre-white dwarf PG1159-035, we find that the companion has a temperature of at least 40,000K and a radius of, at most, 0.056 R . While the temperature and radius are consistent with a hot compact stellar remnant, they are lower and larger, respectively, than expected for a typical young pre-white dwarf. This likely indicates a deficiency in the assumed UV extinction curve. We find that higher temperatures more consistent with expectations for a pre-white dwarf can be derived if the foreground dust has a strong "blue bump" at 2175 Å and a lower R V . Our results demonstrate the ability of Swift to both uncover and characterize hot hidden companion stars and to constrain the UV extinction properties of foreground dust based solely on UVOT photometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number65
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Swift/UVOT photometry of the planetary nebula WeBo1: Unmasking a faint hot companion star'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this