About the Data

Welcome to the the Gallery of Planetary Nebula Spectra! The Gallery contains moderate-resolution (7-10 Angstroms) spectra from the visible to the near-infrared (3600-9600 Angstroms) for a sample of Galactic planetary nebulae (PNe). Most were observed at Kitt Peak National Observatory and Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory. In 2009 we added three dozen more, mostly anticenter objects, observed with the Dual Imaging Spectrograph on the ARC 3.5-m telescope at Apache Point Observatory, in collaboration with Bruce Balick at the University of Washington. Results from these spectra are published in a series of papers listed at the reference page. The complete spectrum for each object is available here for viewing in a zoomable window -- see the Help page for details.

There are currently 164 PNe in the database. Most of these are disk population objects, not too different in age or chemical composition from the Sun (Type II). A few are particularly chemically enriched in nitrogen and/or helium (Type I), and a handful are very old and deficient in many common elements (halo PNe, or Type IV). In addition to the spectrum for each object, its name, galactic coordinates, equatorial coordinates, distances from the Sun, the Galactic center, and the Galactic plane, type and reference are listed, along with a link to an image.

As of the summer of 2012, we have added spectra for 16 PNe in the disk of M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. The blue spectral region for these objects was observed at the 8-meter Gemini-North telescope with the GMOS spectrograph. The red region data comes from DIS on the 3.5-meter ARC telescope at APO. Because these objects are so distant (~2 million light-years away), they appear as "point-sources" and so we have not included any images. Another consequence of their great distance is the increased time it takes to obtain a usable spectrum: 1-5 hours -- much longer than a typical integration time for PNe in the Milky Way!