Astrophys. J., 738, 27 (2011/September-1)
H II region metallicity distribution in the Milky Way disk.
BALSER D.S., ROOD R.T., BANIA T.M. and ANDERSON L.D.
Abstract (from CDS):
The distribution of metals in the Galaxy provides important information about galaxy formation and evolution. H II regions are the most luminous objects in the Milky Way at mid-infrared to radio wavelengths and can be seen across the entire Galactic disk. We used the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) Green Bank Telescope to measure radio recombination line and continuum emission in 81 Galactic H II regions. We calculated LTE electron temperatures using these data. In thermal equilibrium metal abundances are expected to set the nebular electron temperature with high abundances producing low temperatures. Our H II region distribution covers a large range of Galactocentric radius (5-22 kpc) and samples the Galactic azimuth range 330°-60°. Using our highest quality data (72 objects) we derived an O/H Galactocentric radial gradient of -0.0383±0.0074 dex/kpc. Combining these data with a similar survey made with the NRAO 140 Foot telescope we get a radial gradient of -0.0446±0.0049 dex/kpc for this larger sample of 133 nebulae. The data are well fit by a linear model and no discontinuities are detected. Dividing our sample into three Galactic azimuth regions produced significantly different radial gradients that range from -0.03 to -0.07 dex/kpc. These inhomogeneities suggest that metals are not well mixed at a given radius. We stress the importance of homogeneous samples to reduce the confusion of comparing data sets with different systematics. Galactic chemical evolution models typically derive chemical evolution along only the radial dimension with time. Future models should consider azimuthal evolution as well.
Galaxy: abundances - H II regions - radio lines: ISM
VizieR on-line data:
<Available at CDS (J/ApJ/738/27): table1.dat table2.dat table3.dat>
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