Electron densities in HII regions across galaxy discs

Prof. John E. Beckman

Abstract

When we measure the electron density within an H II region using ratios of emission lines we find characteristic values in the range of 100-300 cm-3. But when we make these measurements using the total luminosity in Hα and the overall radial size of an H II region we find average values in the range 3-10. I will first explain how this discrepancy occurs, and then go on to show some measurements of electron densities in the H II regions of M51 (over 2500 regions) and the dwarf galaxy NGC 4449 (over 250 regions) using the second method, by Leonel Gutiérrez and myself. From these measurements we can infer how the electron density varies with the radial size of an individual region, and how it varies as we move from the center of the galaxy disc to the outside. Some interesting simple global relationships are found, which tell us about the interaction of star forming regions with their surroundings and how this interaction varies across the face of a galaxy.

About the talk

Electron densities in HII regions across galaxy discs
Prof. John E. Beckman
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain
Thursday February 4, 2010 - 0:00  (Aula)
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