Boron abundances in diffuse interstellar clouds Proceedings Paper (Web of Science)


  • AbstractWe present a comprehensive survey of B abundances in diffuse interstellar clouds from HST/STIS observations along 56 Galactic sight lines. Our sample is the result of a complete search of archival STIS data for the B II λ1362 resonance line, with each detection confirmed by the presence of absorption from other dominant ions at the same velocity. The data probe a range of astrophysical environments including both high-density regions of massive star formation as well as low-density paths through the Galactic halo, allowing us to clearly define the trend of B depletion onto interstellar grains as a function of gas density. Many extended sight lines exhibit complex absorption profiles that trace both local gas and gas associated with either the Sagittarius-Carina or Perseus spiral arm. Our analysis indicates a higher B/O ratio in the inner Sagittarius-Carina spiral arm than in the vicinity of the Sun, which may suggest that B production in the current epoch is dominated by a secondary process. The average gas-phase B abundance in the warm diffuse ISM [log ϵ(B) = 2.38±0.10] is consistent with the abundances determined for a variety of Galactic disk stars, but is depleted by 60% relative to the solar system value. Our survey also reveals sight lines with enhanced B abundances that potentially trace recent production of 11B either by cosmic-ray or neutrino-induced spallation. Such sight lines will be key to discerning the relative importance of the two production routes for 11B synthesis.


publication date

  • 2009

number of pages

  • 5

start page

  • 237

end page

  • 242


  • 5


  • S268