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Title: Testing the existence of non-Maxwellian electron distributions in H II regions after assessing atomic data accuracy

The classic optical nebular diagnostics [N II], [O II], [O III], [S II], [S III], and [Ar III] are employed to search for evidence of non-Maxwellian electron distributions, namely κ distributions, in a sample of well-observed Galactic H II regions. By computing new effective collision strengths for all these systems and A-values when necessary (e.g., S II), and by comparing with previous collisional and radiative data sets, we have been able to obtain realistic estimates of the electron-temperature dispersion caused by the atomic data, which in most cases are not larger than ∼10%. If the uncertainties due to both observation and atomic data are then taken into account, it is plausible to determine for some nebulae a representative average temperature while in others there are at least two plasma excitation regions. For the latter, it is found that the diagnostic temperature differences in the high-excitation region, e.g., T{sub e} (O III), T{sub e} (S III), and T{sub e} (Ar III), cannot be conciliated by invoking κ distributions. For the low-excitation region, it is possible in some, but not all, cases to arrive at a common, lower temperature for [N II], [O II], and [S II] with κ ≈ 10, whichmore » would then lead to significant abundance enhancements for these ions. An analytic formula is proposed to generate accurate κ-averaged excitation rate coefficients (better than 10% for κ ≥ 5) from temperature tabulations of the Maxwell-Boltzmann effective collision strengths.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Permanent address: Centro de Física, Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas (IVIC), P.O. Box 20632, Caracas 1020A, Venezuela. (Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of)
  2. Department of Physics, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22357124
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 785; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ABUNDANCE; ACCURACY; BOLTZMANN STATISTICS; COLLISIONS; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; DISPERSIONS; DISTRIBUTION; ELECTRON TEMPERATURE; ELECTRONS; EXCITATION; NEBULAE; PLASMA; TESTING