Astrophys. J., 611, 338-352 (2004/August-2)
On the measurement of elemental abundance ratios in inner galaxy H II regions.
SIMPSON J.P., RUBIN R.H., COLGAN S.W.J., ERICKSON E.F. and HAAS M.R.
Abstract (from CDS):
Although variations in elemental abundance ratios in the Milky Way certainly exist, details remain uncertain, particularly in the inner Galaxy, where stars and H II regions in the Galactic plane are obscured optically. In this paper we revisit two previously studied, inner Galaxy H II regions: G333.6-0.2 and W43. We observed three new positions in G333.6-0.2 with the Kuiper Airborne Observatory and reobserved the central position with the Infrared Space Observatory's Long Wavelength Spectrometer in far-infrared lines of S++, N++, N+, and O++. We also added the N+ lines at 122 and 205 µm to the suite of lines measured in W43 by Simpson and coworkers. The measured electron densities range from ∼40 to over 4000/cm3 in a single HII region, indicating that abundance analyses must consider density variations, since the critical densities of the observed lines range from 40 to 9000/cm3. We propose a method to handle density variations and make new estimates of the S/H and N/H abundance ratios. We find that our sulfur abundance estimates for G333.6-0.2 and W43 agree with the S/H abundance ratios expected for the S/H abundance gradient previously reported by Simpson and coworkers, with the S/H values revised to be smaller as a result of changes in collisional excitation cross sections. The estimated N/H, S/H, and N/S ratios are the most reliable because of their small corrections for unseen ionization states (≲10%). The estimated N/S ratios for the two sources are smaller than what would be calculated from the N/H and S/H ratios in our previous paper. We compute models of the two H II regions to estimate corrections for the other unseen ionization states. We find, with large uncertainties, that oxygen does not have a high abundance, with the result that the N/O ratio is as high (∼0.35) as previously reported. The reasons for the uncertainty in the ionization corrections for oxygen are both the nonuniqueness of the H II region models and the sensitivity of these models to different input atomic data and stellar atmosphere models. We discuss these predictions and conclude that only a few of the latest models adequately reproduce H II region observations, including the well-known, relatively large observed Ne++/O++ ratios in low- and moderate-excitation H II regions.
Galaxy: Abundances - ISM: H II Regions - ISM: Abundances - ISM: Individual: Alphanumeric: G333.6-0.2 - ISM: Individual: Alphanumeric: W43
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