Chemical abundances of planetary nebulae from optical recombination lines - II. Abundances derived from collisionally excited lines and optical recombination lines
In Paper I, we presented spectrophotometric measurements of emission lines from the ultraviolet (UV) to the far-infrared for 12 Galactic planetary nebulae (PNe) and derived nebular thermal and density structures using a variety of plasma diagnostics. The measurements and plasma diagnostic results are used in the current paper to determine elemental abundances in these nebulae. Abundance analyses are carried out using both strong collisionally excited lines (CELs) and weak optical recombination lines (ORLs) from heavy element ions.Assuming electron temperatures and densities derived from HI recombination spectra (line and continuum), we are able to determine the ORL C abundance relative to hydrogen for all the PNe in our sample, N and O abundances for 11 of them and Ne abundances for nine of them. In all cases, ORL abundances are found to be systematically higher than the corresponding values deduced from CELs. In NGC 40, the discrepancy between the abundances derived from the two types of emission line reaches a factor of 17 for oxygen. For the other 10 PNe, the discrepancies for oxygen vary from 1.6 to 3.1. In general, collisionally excited infrared fine-structure lines, which have excitation energies less than 103 K and consequently emissivities that are insensitive to electron temperature and temperature fluctuations, yield ionic abundances comparable to those derived from optical/UV CELs. For a given nebula, the discrepancies between the ORL and CEL abundances are of similar magnitude for different elements. In other words, relative abundance ratios such as C/O, N/O and Ne/O deduced from the traditional method based on strong CELs are comparable to those yielded by ORLs, for a wide range of ORL to CEL oxygen abundance ratios, varying from near unity to over a factor of 20. We have also determined ORL abundances relative to hydrogen for the third-row element magnesium for 11 nebulae in our sample. In strong contrast to the cases for second-row elements, Mg abundances derived from the MgII 3d-4f λ4481 ORL are nearly constant for all the PNe analysed so far and agree within the uncertainties with the solar photospheric value. In accordance with results from previous studies, the ORL to CEL abundance ratio is correlated with the difference between the electron temperatures derived from the [OIII] forbidden-line ratio, on the one hand, and from the hydrogen recombination Balmer discontinuity, on the other. We find that the discrepancy between the ORL and CEL abundances is correlated with nebular absolute diameter, surface brightness, the electron density derived from [SII] CELs, and excitation class. The results confirm that the dichotomy of temperatures and heavy elemental abundances determined from the two types of emission line, which has been widely observed in PNe, is a strong function of nebular evolution, as first pointed out by Garnett and Dinerstein. Our analyses show that temperature fluctuations and/or density inhomogeneities are incapable of explaining the large discrepancies between the heavy elemental abundances and electron temperatures determined from the two types of emission line. Our analyses support the bi-abundance model of Liu et al., who have proposed that PNe contain another previously unseen component of ionized gas which, highly enriched in heavy elements, has an electron temperature of <~103 K and emits strongly in recombination lines but not in CELs. Our determinations of low average emission temperatures from the observed line intensity ratios of HeI and OII ORLs lend further support to this scenario.