Guerrero M.A., Fang X., Miller Bertolami M.M., Ramos-Larios G., Todt H., Alarie A., Sabin L., Miranda L.F., Morisset C., Kehrig C., & Zavala S.A., The Inside-out Planetary Nebula around a Born-again Star, 2018, Nature Astronomy, 2, 784
Planetary nebulae are ionized clouds of gas formed by the hydrogen-rich envelopes of low- and intermediate-mass stars ejected at late evolutionary stages. The strong UV flux from their central stars causes a highly stratified ionization structure, with species of higher ionization potential closer to the star. Here, we report on the exceptional case of HuBi 1, a double-shell planetary nebula whose inner shell presents emission from low-ionization species close to the star and emission from high-ionization species farther away. Spectral analysis demonstrates that the inner shell of HuBi 1 is excited by shocks, whereas its outer shell is recombining. The anomalous excitation of these shells can be traced to its low-temperature [WC10] central star whose optical brightness has declined continuously by 10 magnitudes in a period of 46 years. Evolutionary models reveal that this star is the descendant of a low-mass star (≃1.1 M⊙) that has experienced a `born-again’ event1 whose ejecta shock-excite the inner shell. HuBi 1 represents the missing link in the formation of metal-rich central stars of planetary nebulae from low-mass progenitors, offering unique insight regarding the future evolution of the born-again Sakurai’s object2. Coming from a solar-mass progenitor, HuBi 1 represents a potential end-state for our Sun.