Plasma Diagnostics for Planetary Nebulae and H II Regions Using the N II and O II Optical Recombination Lines

I. A. McNabb (1) , X. Fang (2), X.-W. Liu (1,2), R. J. Bastin (3) & P. J. Storey (3) ((1)Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China; (2) Departament of Astronomy, School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing 100871, P. R. China; (3) Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK)

We carry out plasma diagnostic analyses for 123 planetary nebulae (PNe) and 42 H II regions using the N II and O II optical recombination lines (ORLs). New effective recombination coefficients for the N II and O II optical recombination spectra are used. These data were calculated under the intermediate coupling scheme for a number of electron temperature (Te) and density (Ne) cases. We used a new method to determine the Te and Ne for the nebular sample, combining the ORLs with the most reliable measurements for each ion and the predicted intensities that are based on the new atomic data. Uncertainties of the derived Te and Ne are estimated for each object. The diagnostic results from heavy element ORLs show reasonable agreement with previous calculations in the literature. We compare the electron temperatures derived from the N II and O II ORLs, Te(ORLs), and those from the collisionally excited lines (CELs), Te(CELs), as well as the hydrogen Balmer jump, Te(H I BJ), especially for the PNe with large abundance discrepancies. Temperatures from He I recombination lines, Te(He I), are also used for comparison if available. For all the objects included in our sample, Te(ORLs) are lower than Te(H I BJ), which are in turn systematically lower than Te(CELs). Nebulae with Te(He I) available show the relation Te(ORLs) < Te(He I) < Te(H I BJ) < Te(CELs), which is consistent with predictions from the bi-abundance nebular model postulated by Liu et al. (2000).

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