Deriving model-based chemical abundances in ionized gaseos nebulae
There is an increasing multiplicity of proposed methodologies to derive chemical abundances in HII regions from the measurement of the relative fluxes of their optical emission lines. Particularly there is a known discrepancy between the prediction of some widely used grids of photoionization models and the results of the direct analysis of the spectra from their integrated physical properties (i.e. density, temperature). In this seminar, I will introduce HII-CHI-mistry, a Chi square approximation to compare observations with results of a large grid of models calculated using CLOUDY and varying the oxygen abundance, the nitrogen-to-oxygen ratio and the ionization parameter, covereing all possible conditions observed so far in massive complexes of star-formation. Including N/O as an additional variable allows the correct interpretation of the [NII] 6584 emission lines, widely used to derive abundances both in the Local and the Early Universe in the infra-red part of the spectrum.
The use of this method leads to a derivation of both Z and N/O totally consistent with the results from the direct method when emission line ratios sensitive to the temperature are available (e.g. [OIII] 50007/4363). On the contrary, when these ratios are not available, what is the most common situation in metal-rich/distant objects, it is necessary to assume empirical constraints to the space of parameters covered by the model-grid to arrive to solutions in the whole range of metallicity. Among the applications of this methods it is a consistent study of the metallicity in a wide range of potential variations (e.g. gradients of Z in disc galaxies, mass-metallicity relation, etc ...)