The chemistry of planetary nebulae and HII regions in the dwarf galaxies Sextans A and B from deep VLT spectra
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Spectroscopic observations obtained with the VLT of one planetary nebula (PN) in Sextans A and of five PNe in Sextans B and of several HII regions (HII) in these two dwarf irregular galaxies are presented. The extended spectral coverage, from 320.0 to 1000.0nm, 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 (Te) diagnostic [OIII] line at 436.3 nm was measured
... .3 nm was measured in all six PNe and in several HII 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 Te is obtained. In addition, all PNe and HII were also modelled using the photoionization code CLOUDY. The physico-chemical properties of PNe and HII are presented and discussed. A small dispersion in the oxygen abundance of HII was found in both galaxies: 12 + $\log$(O/H)=7.6$\pm$0.2 in SextansA, and 7.8$\pm$0.2 in SextansB. For the five PNe of SextansA, we find that 12 + $\log$(O/H)=8.0$\pm$0.3, with a mean abundance consistent with that of HII. The only PN known in SextansA 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 HII, 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.