The Macquarie/AAO/Strasbourg Halpha Planetary Nebula Catalogue: MASH

Q.A.Parker, A.Acker, D.J.Frew, M.Hartley, A.E.J.Peyaud, S.Phillipps, D.Russeil, S.F.Beaulieu, M.Cohen, J.Köppen, J.Marcout, B.Miszalski, D.H.Morgan, R.A.H.Morris, F.Ochsenbein, M.J.Pierce, A.E.Vaughan


We present the Macquarie/AAO/Strasbourg Halpha Planetary Nebula Catalogue (MASH) of over 900 true, likely, and possible new Galactic Planetary Nebulae (PNe) discovered from the AAO/UKST Halpha survey of the southern Galactic plane. The combination of depth, resolution, uniformity, and areal coverage of the Halpha survey has opened up an hitherto unexplored region of parameter space permitting the detection of this significant new PN sample. Away from the Galactic bulge the new PNe are typically more evolved, of larger angular extent, of lower surface brightness and more obscured (i.e. extinguished) than those in most previous surveys. We have also doubled the number of PNe in the Galactic bulge itself and although most are compact, we have also found more evolved examples. The MASH catalogue represents the culmination of a seven year programme of identification and confirmatory spectroscopy. A key strength is that the entire sample has been derived from the same, uniform observational data. The 60 per cent increase in known Galactic PNe represents the largets ever incremental sample of such discoveries and will have a significant impact on many aspects of PN research. This is especially important for studies at the faint end of the PN luminosity function which was previously poorly represented.