First Detection of 3He+ in the Planetary Nebula IC 418

Lizette Ramirez, J R Rizzo, Albert Zijlstra, C Garcia-Miro, C Morisset, Malcolm Gray

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    The 3He isotope is important to many fields of astrophysics, including stellar evolution, chemical evolution, and cosmology. The isotope is produced in low-mass stars which evolve through the planetary nebula (PN) phase. 3He abundances in PNe can help test models of the chemical evolution of the Galaxy. We present the detection of the 3He+ emission line using the single dish Deep Space Station 63, towards the PN IC 418.We derived a 3He/H abundance in the range 1.74 ± 0.8 ± 10-3 to 5.8 ± 1.7 ± 10-3, depending on whether part of the line arises in an outer ionized halo. The lower value for 3He/H ratio approaches values predicted by stellar models which include thermohaline mixing, but requires that large amounts of 3He are produced inside low-mass stars which enrich the interstellar medium (ISM). However, this overpredicts the 3He abundance in H II regions, the ISM, and protosolar grains, which is known to be of the order of 10-5. This discrepancy questions our understanding of the evolution of the 3He, from circumstellar environments to the ISM.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)L35-L39
    Number of pages5
    JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
    Issue number1
    Early online date12 Apr 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2016


    • abundances - circumstellar matter - planetary nebulae
    • IC 418 - radio lines
    • Individual
    • nuclear reactions
    • nucleosynthesis
    • stars


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