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What the D/O ratio tells us about the interstellar abundance of deuterium?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 April 2010

Guillaume Hébrard*
Affiliation:
Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, UMR7095 CNRS, Université Pierre & Marie Curie, 98bis boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France email: hebrard@iap.fr
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Abstract

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The ionization balances for HI, OI and DI being locked together by charge exchange, the deuterium-to-oxygen ratio is considered to be a good proxy for the deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio, in particular within the interstellar medium. As the DI and OI column densities are of similar orders of magnitude for a given sight line, comparisons of the two values are generally less subject to systematic errors than comparisons of DI and HI. Moreover, D/O is additionally sensitive to astration, because as stars destroy deuterium, they should produce oxygen. D/O measurements are now available for tens of lines of sight in the interstellar medium, most of them from FUSE observations. The D/H and D/O ratios show different pictures, D/H being clearly more dispersed than D/O. The low, homogeneous D/O ratio measured on distant lines of sight suggests a deuterium abundance representative of the present epoch that is about two times lower than this measured within the local interstellar medium.

Type
Contributed Papers
Copyright
Copyright © International Astronomical Union 2010

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