Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad Gobierno de Canarias Universidad de La Laguna CSIC Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa

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M43, the little sister of the Orion Nebula.


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We have selected the Galactic HII region M43, a close-by apparently spherical nebula ionized by a single star (HD37061, B0.5V) to investigate several topics of recent interest in the field of HII regions and massive stars. We perform a combined, comprehensive study of the nebula and its ionizing star by using as many observational constraints as possible. For this study we collected a set of high-quality observations, including the optical spectrum of HD3706, along with nebular optical imaging and long-slit spatially resolved spectroscopy. On the one hand, we have carried out a quantitative spectroscopic analysis of the ionizing star from which we have determined the stellar parameters of HD37061 and the total number of ionizing photons emitted by the star; on the other hand, we have done a empirical analysis of the nebular images and spectroscopy from which we have find observational evidence of scattered light from the Huygens region (the brightest part of the Orion nebula) in the M43 region. We show the importance of an adequate correction of this scattered light in both the imagery and spectroscopic observations of M43 in accurately determining the total nebular Halpha luminosity, the nebular physical conditions. and chemical abundances. We have computed total abundances for three of the analyzed elements (O, S, and N), directly from observable ions (no ionization correction factors are needed). The comparison of these abundances with those derived from the spectrum of the Orion nebula indicates the importance of the atomic data and, specially in the case of M42, the considered ionization correction factors.

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