Azimuthal variations of gas-phase oxygen abundance in NGC 2997

I-Ting Ho, Sharon E. Meidt, Rolf-Peter Kudritzki, Brent A. Groves, Mark Seibert, Barry F. Madore, Eva Schinnerer, Jeffrey A. Rich, Chiaki Kobayashi, Lisa J. Kewley

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The azimuthal variation of the HII region oxygen abundance in spiral galaxies is a key observable for understanding how quickly oxygen produced by massive stars can be dispersed within the surrounding interstellar medium. Observational constraints on the prevalence and magnitude of such azimuthal variations remain rare in the literature. Here, we report the discovery of pronounced azimuthal variations of HII region oxygen abundance in NGC 2997, a spiral galaxy at approximately 11.3 Mpc. Using 3D spectroscopic data from the TYPHOON Program, we study the HII region oxygen abundance at a physical resolution of 125 pc. Individual HII regions or complexes are identified in the 3D optical data and their strong emission line fluxes measured to constrain their oxygen abundances. We find 0.06 dex azimuthal variations in the oxygen abundance on top of a radial abundance gradient that is comparable to those seen in other star-forming disks. At a given radial distance, the oxygen abundances are highest in the spiral arms and lower in the inter-arm regions, similar to what has been reported in NGC 1365 using similar observations. We discuss whether the azimuthal variations could be recovered when the galaxy is observed at worse physical resolutions and lower signal-to-noise ratios.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA64
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2018


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