Volume 480, Number 2, March III 2008
|Page(s)||581 - 587|
|Section||Atomic, molecular, and nuclear data|
|Published online||17 January 2008|
Self-broadening of the hydrogen Balmer α line
Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, UMR 7095, CNRS, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, 98bis boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, LERMA, UMR 8112, CNRS, 92195 Meudon Principal Cedex, France
3 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, 40292, USA
4 Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, GEPI, UMR 8111, CNRS, 92195 Meudon Principal Cedex, France
Accepted: 14 December 2007
Context.Profiles of hydrogen lines in stellar spectra are determined by the properties of the hydrogen atom and the structure of the star's atmosphere. Hydrogen line profiles are therefore a very important diagnostic tool in stellar modeling. In particular they are widely used as effective temperature criterion for stellar atmospheres in the range Teff 5500–7000 K.
Aims.In cool stars such as the Sun hydrogen is largely neutral and the electron density is low. The line center width at half maximum and the spectral energy distribution in the wings are determined primarily by collisions with hydrogen atoms due to their high relative density. This work aims to provide benchmark calculations of Balmer α based on recent H2 potentials.
Methods.For the first time an accurate determination of the broadening of Balmer α by atomic hydrogen is made in a unified theory of collisional line profiles using ab initio calculations of molecular hydrogen potential energies and transition matrix elements among singlet and triplet electronic states.
Results.We computed the shape, width and shift of the Balmer α line perturbed by neutral hydrogen and studied their dependence on temperature. We present results over the full range of temperatures from 3000 to 12 000 K needed for stellar spectra models.
Conclusions.Our calculations lead to larger values than those obtained with the commonly used Ali & Griem (1966, Phys. Rev. A, 144, 366) theory and are closer to the recent calculations of Barklem et al. (2000a, A&A, 355, L5; 2000b, A&A, 363, 1091). We conclude that the line parameters are dependent on the sum of many contributing molecular transitions, each with a different temperature dependence, and we provide tables for Balmer α. The unified line shape theory with complete molecular potentials also predicts additional opacity in the far non-Lorentzian wing.
Key words: line: profiles / stars: atmospheres / stars: white dwarfs
© ESO, 2008
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