Heidelberg Joint Astronomical Colloquium

Speaker Albert Zijlstra
Title Formation and evolution of planetary nebulae

Planetary nebulae reflect the death throes of Sun-like stars. Low and intermediate mass stars eject between 20% and 80% of their mass of the star through a "super"wind. This process is responsible for the white dwarf mass distribution, half of the gas and dust in the ISM, and, last but not least, all planetary nebulae. The cause, evolution and composition of the superwind is still a matter of debate. Observations of planetary nebulae and their progeny, AGB stars, provide important constraints on the superwind and its origin. I will discuss new observational results, including the effect of carbon on mass loss at low metallicity, the fate of iron, the formation process of PAHs, and the formation and photo-evaporation of dust disks.