Letter to the Editor
The diffuse nature of Strömgren spheres
Sterrewacht Leiden, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 3 July 2005
In this Letter, we argue that the standard analytical derivations of properties of HII regions, such as the speed, shape and asymptotic position of ionisation fronts require a more precise treatment. These derivations use the on the spot approximation, which in effect ignores the diffuse component of the radiation field. We show that, in fact, HII regions are diffusion dominated. This has as a result that the morphology of inhomogeneous HII regions will be drastically different, because shadowing effects have a less profound impact on the apparent shape. Moreover, it will have influence on the propagation speed of ionisation fronts. We quantify our claims by analytically deriving the internal radiation structure of HII regions, taking diffusion fully into account for several different cosmologically relevant density distributions.
Key words: diffuse radiation / HII regions / radiative transfer
© ESO, 2005