We investigate the ionization structure of the nebular gas in M83 using the line diagnostic diagram, [O III](5007)/Hβ versus [S II](6716+6731)/ Hα, with the newly available narrowband images from the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). We produce the diagnostic diagram on a pixel-by-pixel (02 × 02) basis and compare it with several photo- and shock-ionization models. We select four regions from the center to the outer spiral arm and compare them in the diagnostic diagram. For the photoionized gas, we observe a gradual increase of the log ([O III]/Hβ) ratios from the center to the spiral arm, consistent with the metallicity gradient, as the H II regions go from super-solar abundance to roughly solar abundance from the center out. Using the diagnostic diagram, we separate the photoionized from the shock-ionized component of the gas. We find that the shock-ionized Hα emission ranges from ∼2% to about 15%-33% of the total, depending on the separation criteria used. An interesting feature in the diagnostic diagram is a horizontal distribution around log ([O III]/Hβ) 0. This feature is well fit by a shock-ionization model with 2.0 Z metallicity and shock velocities in the range of 250-350 km s-1. A low-velocity shock component, <200 km s-1, is also detected and is spatially located at the boundary between the outer ring and the spiral arm. The low-velocity shock component can be due to (1) supernova remnants located nearby, (2) dynamical interaction between the outer ring and the spiral arm, and (3) abnormal line ratios from extreme local dust extinction. The current data do not enable us to distinguish among those three possible interpretations. Our main conclusion is that, even at the HST resolution, the shocked gas represents a small fraction of the total ionized gas emission at less than 33% of the total. However, it accounts for virtually all of the mechanical energy produced by the central starburst in M83.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science