Serendipity and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey: Discovery of the largest known planetary nebula on the sky

Paul C. Hewett, Michael J. Irwin, Evan D. Skillman, Craig B. Foltz, Jon P. Willis, Stephen J. Warren, Nicholas A. Walton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Investigation of spectra from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey reveals the presence of a region of ionized gas of greater than 2° diameter centered approximately at α = 10h37m, 5 = -00°18′ (J2000.0) (Galactic coordinates I = 248°, b = +48°). [O III] λλ4959, 5007 emission is particularly strong, and emission from Hα and [N II] λλ6548, 6583 is also detectable over a substantial area on the sky. The combination of emission-line ratios, the close to zero heliocentric radial velocity, and the morphology of the structure is consistent with an identification as a very nearby planetary nebula. The proximity of the hot, DO white dwarf PG 1034+001 further strengthens this interpretation. The object is (1) the largest planetary nebula on the sky, (2) certainly closer than any planetary nebula other than Sh 2-216, and (3) the first to be unambiguously associated with a DO white dwarf. A parallax distance for PG 1034+001 would establish whether the structure is in fact the closest, and one of the physically largest, planetary nebulae known.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L37-L40
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 II
StatePublished - Dec 10 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
E. D. S. is grateful for the hospitality of the IoA during his sabbatical visit, and we thank Alan McConnachie for assisting with the INT imaging observations. We are grateful to the anonymous referee who provided a detailed review of the original manuscript. This Letter includes observations made with the INT, operated on the island of La Palma by the Isaac Newton Group in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias. Funding for the SDSS has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Energy, the Japanese Monbukagakusho, and the Max Planck Society.7


  • Planetary nebulae: individual (Hewett 1)
  • White dwarfs


Dive into the research topics of 'Serendipity and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey: Discovery of the largest known planetary nebula on the sky'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this