12C/13C ratio in planetary nebulae from the IUE archives

R. H. Rubin, G. J. Ferland, E. E. Chollet, R. Horstmeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We investigated the abundance ratio of 12C/13C in planetary nebulae by examining emission lines arising from C III 2s2p 3P2,1,00 → 2s2 1S0. Spectra were retrieved from the International Ultraviolet Explorer archives, and multiple spectra of the same object were co-added to achieve improved signal-to-noise ratio. The 13C hyperfine structure line at 1909.6 Å was detected in NGC 2440. The 12C/13C ratio was found to be ∼4.4 ± 1.2. In all other objects, we provide an upper limit for the flux of the 1910 Å line. For 23 of these sources, a lower limit for the 12C/ 13C ratio was established. The impact on our current understanding of stellar evolution is discussed. The resulting high-signal-to-noise ratio C in spectrum helps constrain the atomic physics of the line formation process. Some objects have the measured 1907/1909 Å flux ratio outside the low-electron density theoretical limit for 12C. A mixture of 13C with 12C helps to close the gap somewhat. Nevertheless, some observed 1907/1909 Å flux ratios still appear too high to conform to the currently predicted limits. It is shown that this limit, as well as the 1910/1909 Å flux ratio, are predominantly influenced by using the standard partitioning among the collision strengths for the multiplet 1S0 - 3PJ0 according to the statistical weights. A detailed calculation for the fine-structure collision strengths between these individual levels would be valuable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)784-792
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Apr 20 2004


  • Atomic processes
  • ISM: abundances
  • Planetary nebulae: general
  • Planetary nebulae: individual (NGC 2440)
  • Stars: AGB and post-AGB
  • Stars: abundances

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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