EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 443, Number 1, November III 2005
Page(s) 115 - 132
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20052973

A&A 443, 115-132 (2005)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20052973

The chemistry of planetary nebulae and HII regions in the dwarf galaxies Sextans A and B from deep VLT spectra

L. Magrini1, P. Leisy2, 3, R. L. M. Corradi3, M. Perinotto1, A. Mampaso2 and J. M. Vílchez4

1  Dipartimento di Astronomia e Scienza dello Spazio, Universitá di Firenze, L.go E. Fermi 2, 50125 Firenze, Italy
    e-mail: laura@arcetri.astro.it
2  Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, c. Vía Láctea s/n, 38200, La Laguna, Tenerife, Canarias, Spain
3  Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes, Apartado de Correos 321, 38700 Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canarias, Spain
4  Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC) Apartado de Correos 3004, 18080 Granada, Spain

(Received 2 March 2005 / Accepted 25 July 2005)

Spectroscopic observations obtained with the VLT of one planetary nebula (PN) in Sextans A and of five PNe in Sextans A and of several H II regions in these two dwarf irregular galaxies are presented. The extended spectral coverage, from 320.0 to 1000.0 nm, and the large telescope aperture allowed us to detect a number of emission lines, covering more than one ionization stage for several elements (He, O, S, Ar). The electron temperature diagnostic O III line at 436.3 nm was measured in all six PNe and in several H II regions allowing for an accurate determination of the ionic and total chemical abundances by means of the Ionization Correction Factors method. For the time being, these PNe are the farthest ones where such a direct measurement of the electron temperature is obtained. In addition, all PNe and H II regions were also modelled using the photoionization code CLOUDY (Ferland et al. 1998, PASP, 110, 761). The physico-chemical properties of PNe and H II regions are presented and discussed. A small dispersion in the oxygen abundance of H II regions was found in both galaxies: $12 + \log\, \rm (O/H)=7.6\pm 0.2$ in Sextans A, and $7.8\pm 0.2$ in Sextans B. For the five PNe of Sextans B, we find that $12 + \log\,\rm (O/H)=8.0\pm 0.3$, with a mean abundance consistent with that of H II regions. The only PN known in Sextans A appears to have been produced by a quite massive progenitor, and has a significant nitrogen overabundance. In addition, its oxygen abundance is 0.4 dex larger than the mean abundance of H II regions, possibly indicating an efficient third dredge-up for massive, low-metallicity PN progenitors. The metal enrichment of both galaxies is analyzed using these new data.

Key words: ISM: abundances -- ISM: planetary nebulae: individual: Sextans A Sextans B -- ISM: HII regions -- galaxies: individual: Sextans A Sextans B -- galaxies: Local Group -- galaxies: abundances

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© ESO 2005

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