Next Contents Previous


Recent reviews on abundances of galactic H II regions are those by Peimbert (1993) and Wilson & Rood (1994).

Photoionization models with uniform chemical composition predict t2 values around 0.01 (e.g. Garnett 1992; Gruenwald & Viegas 1992). Baldwin et al. (1991) produced a photoionization model for the Orion nebula, in which grains and gas are well mixed, that included photoelectric heating and cooling of the gas by grain ionization and grain collisions respectively; for this model Peimbert et al. (1993a) find that t2 = 0.004.

Table 1. Mean temperature variations in galactic H II regions. (1) Peimbert 1967; (2) Peimbert & Torres-Peimbert 1977; (3) Simpson 1973; (4) Sánchez & Peimbert 1991; (5) Peimbert et al. 1992; (6) Walter, Dufour & Hester 1992; (7) Peimbert et al. 1993a; (8) Peimbert et al. 1993b; (9) Peimbert et al. 1995a.

Object t2(Bac/FL) t2(C++R/C) t2(O++R/C)

Orion 0.047 ± 0.015 (1,2) 0.055 ± 0.013 (6) 0.038 ± 0.011 (7)
Orion 0.024 ± 0.012 (2,3) 0.053 ± 0.013 (7) 0.050 ± 0.010 (9)
M8 0.034 ± 0.017 (4) 0.046 ± 0.010 (8) . . .
M17 0.041 ± 0.019 (5) . . . 0.037 ± 0.017 (7)

In Table 1 I present observational t2 values for galactic H II regions of the solar vicinity based on three methods: a) the combination of Te(Bac / Hbeta) and Te (4363/5007) (see equations 2.3 and 2.4), b) the condition that N(C++ recombination) / N(C++, collisions) is equal to one; c) the condition that N(O++ recombination) / N(O++, collisions) is equal to one. In addition to the results presented in Table 1, by combining the observations at high radiofrequencies (H56alpha, H66alpha) and the [O III] observations at 88.35 µm with Te(4363/5007), the following values of t2 are obtained for the Orion nebula: 0.037, 0.011 and 0.035 (Berulis, Smirnov & Sorochenko 1975; Wilson, Bieging & Wilson 1979; Moorwood et al. 1978; Torres-Peimbert, Peimbert & Daltabuit 1980).

Walter & Dufour (1994) from longslit spectra of the Orion nebula find a decrease in Te(Bac) moving to the west of theta1 Ori C, from 8400 K at a distance of 40" to a low of 2800 K at a distance of 220"; this decrease implies an increase in t2 with distance from theta1 Ori C reaching values considerably higher than any reported to date.

From the previous discussion it follows that typical t2 values in galactic H II regions of the solar vicinity are in the 0.03 to 0.05 range, values considerably higher than those predicted by photoionized chemical homogeneous models with constant density.

As for PN there are three possible explanations for the large t2 values: a) that the Te(4363/5007) temperatures have been overestimated due to clumps and regions with Ne ~ 106 cm-3, b) that the H II regions are chemically inhomogeneous and c) that there is deposition of kinetic energy by shocks and by subsonic turbulence produced by mass loss from stars inside the H II regions.

The Orion nebula does show regions of Ne ~ 106 cm-3 (Bautista, Pradhan & Osterbrock 1994; Bautista & Pradhan 1994) but due to their high densities, these regions are of low degree of ionization, probably in the partially ionized zone that separates the H II region from the H I region, and do not affect the distribution of Te(4363/5007). Also the determination of Ne(3727/7325) indicates the presence of density fluctuations but the fraction of the emission due to regions with Ne geq 105 cm-3 is negligible (e.g. Peimbert & Torres-Peimbert 1977).

Cunha & Lambert (1992) and Cunha (1993) have divided the B stars of the Orion association into four subgroups according to age. They have found that the younger the subgroup the higher the O/H ratio and that the spread in the O/H ratio in one age group reaches 0.5 dex. Inhomogeneities of O/H in the 0.3 dex to 0.5 dex range in a given nebula can produce t2 values in the 0.03 to 0.04 range.

There is a large body of evidence for the presence of high velocity components and shock waves inside shell H II regions (e.g. Dufour 1989 and references therein) and inside typical H II regions (e.g. Castañeda 1988; Clayton 1990; Massey & Meaburn 1993). These high velocity components are due to stellar winds from massive stars embedded in the nebulae.

Temperature fluctuations also play a paramount role in the determination of DeltaY / DeltaZ. M17 is the H II region of the solar vicinity with the best He/H determination (Peimbert et al. 1992). This determination combined with a t2 = 0.04 and the pregalactic helium abundance, Yp, of 0.230 derived from O-poor extragalactic H II regions (e.g. Pagel et al. 1992, Pagel 1995) yields DeltaY / DeltaZ = 2.5 ± 0.5. From M17, Yp = 0.230 and t2 0.00 a DeltaY / DeltaZ = 4.59 is derived.

The large DeltaY / DeltaZ and the small O/H values for t2 = 0.00 found for O-poor H II regions led Maeder (1992, 1993) to suggest that there is a mass, m(BH), above which massive stars would end their evolution without enriching the ISM at the time of the SN explosion. Carigi (1994) and Peimbert, Sarmiento & Colín (1994b), based on the stellar evolution models by Maeder (1992) find that it is possible to explain the DeltaY / DeltaZ value of 2.5 ± 0.5 (t2 = 0.04) for the solar vicinity without the need to suppress the Z enrichment of massive stars at the end of their evolution. Alternatively for t2 = 0.00, the mechanism suggested by Maeder becomes necessary to explain the DeltaY / DeltaZ ratio but would enter in contradiction with observational constraints such as DeltaC / DeltaO.

Next Contents Previous