DEUTERIUM ABUNDANCE IN THE LOCAL ISM AND POSSIBLE SPATIAL VARIATIONS

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Abstract

Excellent HST/GHRS spectra of interstellar hydrogen and deuterium Lyman-α absorption toward nearby stars allow us to identify systematic errors that have plagued earlier work and to measure accurate values of the D/H ratio in local interstellar gas. Analysis of 12 sightlines through the Local Interstellar Cloud leads to a mean value of D/H = (1.50 ± 0.10) × 10−5 with all data points lying within ± 1σ of the mean. Whether or not the D/H ratio has different values elsewhere in the Galaxy and beyond is a very important open question that will be one of the major objectives of the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) mission.

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