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Session 49 - The Frontiers of Far Ultraviolet Astrophysics - I.
Topical, Oral session, Wednesday, June 10

[49.03] Deuterium in the Galaxy

K. R. Sembach (Johns Hopkins University)

Most of the deuterium in the Universe was created within a few minutes of the Big Bang, and it is generally believed that the net abundance of deuterium decreases with time due to stellar processing (astration). The present day value of the deuterium abundance should therefore reflect the imprint of Big Bang nucleosynthesis as well as the subsequent chemical evolution of the Universe. This "history" can be understood in part by determining the D/H ratio as a function of redshift (time), though the details of doing so have made this task difficult.

In this talk, I will discuss the data and techniques used to measure the D/H ratio in the Milky Way with space missions such as Copernicus, IMAPS, and the Hubble Space Telecope. I will also describe how upcoming measurements with the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer will change our limited view of the deuterium abundance in the Milky Way and how the data might be used to further our understanding of the chemical evolution of galaxies and the destruction of deuterium with time.

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