The VMC survey II : A multi-wavelength study of LMC planetary nebulae and their mimics
The VISTA Magellanic Cloud (VMC) survey is assembling a deep, multi-epoch atlas of Y JKs photometry across the Magellanic Clouds. Prior to the VMC survey only the brightest Magellanic Cloud PNe (MCPNe) were accessible at near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths. It is now possible for the first time to assemble the NIR properties of MCPNe and to identify contaminating non-PNe mimics which are best revealed at NIR wavelengths (e.g. HII regions and symbiotic stars). To maintain the unique scientific niche that MCPNe occupy these contaminants must be removed. Here we conduct a VMC-led, multi-wavelength study of 102 objects previously classified as PNe that are located within the first six VMC tiles observed. We present images, photometry, lightcurves, diagnostic colour-colour diagrams and spectral energy distributions used to analyse the entire sample. At least five PNe have newly resolved nebula morphologies, a task previously only possible with the HST. A total 45/67 (67%) of Reid & Parker (RP) catalogued objects were reclassified as non-PNe, most of which were located in the vicinity of 30 Doradus. This sample included 16 field stars, 5 emission line stars, 19 HII regions, 4 symbiotic star candidates and 1 young stellar object. We discuss possible selection effects responsible for their inclusion in the RP catalogue and the implications for binary central star surveys targeting LMC PNe. A total of five new LMC symbiotic star candidates identified, compared to eight previously known, underlines the important role the VMC survey will have in advancing Magellanic symbiotic star studies.