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  1. Abstract

    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 project has observed ∼100 Hiiregions 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−1and 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 forα-process orα-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 singleTemeasurement andTeTerelationships are relied on for inferring the temperature in the unmeasured ionization zone, this can lead to systematic biases that increase the measured dispersion up to 0.11 dex.

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    We re-examine the extremely metal-poor dwarf galaxy AGC 198691 using a high quality spectrum obtained by the LBT’s MODS instrument. Previous spectral observations obtained from KOSMOS on the Mayall 4-m and the Blue channel spectrograph on the MMT 6.5-m telescope did not allow for the determination of sulfur, argon, or helium abundances. We report an updated and full chemical abundance analysis for AGC 198691, including confirmation of the extremely low “direct” oxygen abundance with a value of 12 + log (O/H) = 7.06 ± 0.03. AGC 198691’s low metallicity potentially makes it a high value target for helping determine the primordial helium abundance (Yp). Though complicated by a Na i night sky line partially overlaying the He i λ5876 emission line, the LBT/MODS spectrum proved adequate for determining AGC 198691’s helium abundance. We employ the recently expanded and improved model of Aver et al., incorporating higher Balmer and Paschen lines, augmented by the observation of the infrared helium emission line He i λ10830 obtained by Hsyu et al. Applying our full model produced a reliable helium abundance determination, consistent with the expectation for its metallicity. Although this is the lowest metallicity object with a detailed helium abundance, unfortunately, due to its faintness [EW(Hβ) < 100 Å] and the compromised He i λ5876, the resultant uncertainty on the helium abundance is too large to allow a significant improvement on the measurement of Yp.

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