AAS 196th Meeting, June 2000
Session 43. Planetary Nebulae and Their Progenitors
Display, Wednesday, June 7, 2000, 10:00am-7:00pm, Empire Hall South

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[43.04] The 12C/13C Isotopic Ratio in Planetary Nebulae as Deduced from IUE Data

C.L. Miskey (IACS/CUA), W.A. Feibelman (NASA/GSFC/LASP), F.C. Bruhweiler (IACS/CUA)

The relative abundances of C, N, and O and the isotopic ratio of 12C/13C represent tracers of nucleosynthesis in intermediate stars with main-sequence masses between 0.6 and 8.0 solar masses in our Galaxy. Determining these abundances and the isotopic 12C/13C ratio in planetary nebulae (PNe) represent perhaps the best means to discern exactly how the ISM is enriched by CNO stellar nucleosynthesis.

Walsh et al. (1996) and Clegg et al. (1997), using the Hubble Space Telescope, have derived the isotopic 12C/13C abundance ratio in the galactic carbon-rich PN, NGC 3918, and placed marginal constraints on it for the Magellanic PNe, N2 (SMC) and N122 (LMC). This was done using the well-known 12C 3P-1S (J=1-0 and J=2-0) transitions of C+2 at 1906.68Åand 1908.77Åand a J=0-0 transition at 1909.6Å, which is strictly forbidden in 12C. The finite nuclear spin of 13C (I=1/2) permits a corresponding F=1/2-1/2 electric dipole transition not seen in 12C. Since the 1909.6Å line is well separated from the other two 12C transitions, it provides an important means of determining 12C/13C in planetary nebulae.

We have just completed a search of archival International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) high-dispersion spectra of approximately three dozen PNe, and derived 12C/13C ratios of 39 and 23 for the galactic PNe, NGC 2440 and NGC 6302, respectively. These are values much lower than the solar value of 89. In the other objects, the limited S/N of the IUE data indicate 12C/13C ratio upper limits much higher than 50. The implications of these results and their pertinence to stellar evolution are discussed.

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