CHAOS VII: A Large-Scale Direct Abundance Study in M33

Noah S. J. Rogers, Evan D. Skillman, Richard W. Pogge, Danielle A. Berg, Kevin V. Croxall, Jordan Bartlett, Karla Z. Arellano-Córdova, John Moustakas

Submitted on 8 September 2022


The dispersion in chemical abundances provides a very strong constraint on the processes that drive the chemical enrichment of galaxies. Due to its proximity, the spiral galaxy M33 has been the focus of numerous chemical abundance surveys to study the chemical enrichment and dispersion in abundances over large spatial scales. The CHemical Abundances Of Spirals (CHAOS) project has observed 100 H II regions in M33 with the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), producing the largest homogeneous sample of electron temperatures (Te) and direct abundances in this galaxy. Our LBT observations produce a robust oxygen abundance gradient of 0.037 ± 0.007 dex/kpc and indicate a relatively small (0.043 ± 0.015 dex) intrinsic dispersion in oxygen abundance relative to this gradient. The dispersions in N/H and N/O are similarly small and the abundances of Ne, S, Cl, and Ar relative to O are consistent with the solar ratio as expected for α-process or α-process-dependent elements. Taken together, the ISM in M33 is chemically well-mixed and homogeneously enriched from inside-out with no evidence of significant abundance variations at a given radius in the galaxy. Our results are compared to those of the numerous studies in the literature, and we discuss possible contaminating sources that can inflate abundance dispersion measurements. Importantly, if abundances are derived from a single Te measurement and Te-Te relationships are relied on for inferring the temperature in the unmeasured ionization zone, this can lead to systematic biases which increase the measured dispersion up to 0.11 dex.


Comment: 52 pages, 13 figures, accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal

Subject: Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies