Uncertainties in nebular helium abundances

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Efforts to determine the primordial helium abundance via observations of metal poor HII regions have been limited by significant uncertainties. Because of a degeneracy between the solutions for density and temperature, the precision of the helium abundance determinations is limited. Spectra from the literature are used to show the effects of new atomic data and to demonstrate the challenges of determining precise He abundances. Several suggestions are made for meeting these challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-118
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
Issue numberS268
StatePublished - 2009


  • Abundances
  • Cosmological parameters
  • Early universe
  • ISM: HII regions
  • Nucleosynthesis


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