Space Science Reviews

, Volume 84, Issue 1–2, pp 185–198 | Cite as

Helium-3: Status and Prospects

  • R. T. Rood
  • T. M. Bania
  • D. S. Balser
  • T. L. Wilson


We report on our continuing efforts to determine 3He abundances in H II regions and planetary nebulae. Our detections of 3He in some PNe show that some stars produce large amounts of 3He. However the H II region abundances show no evidence for this production. From our sample of > 40 H II regions, the subsample which should yield the most reliable abundances has 3He/H abundances which scatter between 1-2 × 10-5. There is no trend with either galactocentric distance or metallicity. Even if we do not understand the underlying mechanisms, we see empirically that stars neither produce nor destroy 3He in a major way. We thus suggest that the level of the "3He Plateau" (3He/H = 1.5 -0.5 +1.0 × 10-5) is a reasonable estimate for the primordial 3He.

3-Helium cosmic abundance planetary nebula chemical evolution 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. T. Rood
    • 1
  • T. M. Bania
    • 2
  • D. S. Balser
    • 3
  • T. L. Wilson
    • 4
  1. 1.Dept. of AstronomyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesville
  2. 2.Dept. of AstronomyBoston UniversityBoston
  3. 3.National Radio Astronomy ObservatoryGreen Bank
  4. 4.Submillimeter Telescope ObservatoryUniversity of ArizonaTucson

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