Context. Main-sequence massive stars embedded in an H ii region should have the same chemical abundances as the surrounding nebular gas+dust. The Cocoon nebula (IC 5146), a close-by Galactic H ii region ionized by a narrow line B0.5 V single star (BD+46 3474), is an ideal target to compare nebular and stellar abundances in detail in the same Galactic region.
Aims: We investigate the chemical content of oxygen and other elements in the Cocoon nebula from two different points of view: an empirical analysis of the nebular spectrum, and a detailed spectroscopic analysis of the associated early B-type star using state-of-the-art stellar atmosphere modeling. By comparing the stellar and nebular abundances, we aim to indirectly address the long-standing problem of the discrepancy found between abundances obtained from collisionally excited lines and optical recombination lines in photoionized nebulae.
Methods: We collected long-slit spatially resolved spectroscopy of the Cocoon nebula and a high-resolution optical spectrum of the ionizing star. Standard nebular techniques along with updated atomic data were used to compute the physical conditions and gaseous abundances of O, N, and S in eight apertures extracted across a semidiameter of the nebula. We performed a self-consistent spectroscopic abundance analysis of BD+46 3474 based on the atmosphere code FASTWIND to determine the stellar parameters and Si, O, and N abundances.
Results: The Cocoon nebula and its ionizing star, located at a distance of 800±80 pc, have a chemical composition very similar to the Orion nebula and other B-type stars in the solar vicinity. This result agrees with the high degree of homogeneity of the present-day composition of the solar neighborhood (up to 1.5 Kpc from the Sun) as derived from the study of the local cold-gas interstellar medium. The comparison of stellar and nebular collisionally excited line abundances in the Cocoon nebula indicates that O and N gas+dust nebular values agree better with stellar values assuming small temperature fluctuations on the order of those found in the Orion nebula (t2 = 0.022). For S, the behaviour is somewhat puzzling, and different conclusions can be reached depending on the atomic data set used.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- November 2014
- ISM: individual objects: IC 5146;
- stars: abundances;
- stars: early-type;
- individual: BD+46 3474;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- Accepted for publication in A&