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Carbon Abundances in Starburst Galaxies of the Local Universe




Pena-Guerrero, Maria A.
Leitherer, Claus
De Mink, Selma
Wofford, Aida
Kewley, Lisa

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IOP Publishing


The cosmological origin of carbon, the fourth most abundant element in the universe, is not well known and a matter of heavy debate. We investigate the behavior of C/O to O/H in order to constrain the production mechanism of carbon. We measured emission-line intensities in the spectral range from 1600 to 10000 Å on Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) long-slit spectra of 18 starburst galaxies in the local universe. We determined chemical abundances through traditional nebular analysis, and we used a Markov Chain Monte Carlo method to determine where our carbon and oxygen abundances lie in the parameter space. We conclude that our C and O abundance measurements are sensible. We analyzed the behavior of our sample in the [C/O] versus [O/H] diagram with respect to other objects such as DLAs, neutral ISM measurements, and disk and halo stars, finding that each type of object seems to be located in a specific region of the diagram. Our sample shows a steeper C/O versus O/H slope with respect to other samples, suggesting that massive stars contribute more to the production of C than N at higher metallicities, only for objects where massive stars are numerous; otherwise, intermediate-mass stars dominate the C and N production.



galaxies: evolution, galaxies: starburst, Galaxy: abundances, H II regions, ultraviolet: galaxies Supporting material: figure sets



The Astrophysical Journal


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Open Access

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