Elementary excitation processes in rarefied plasmas
An atom (ion) in a rarefied astrophysical plasma near a hot (blue) star takes part in a chain of radiative and collisional processes initiated by the UV radiation from the star. The main constituents of an astrophysical plasma are hydrogen (90% of the atoms) and helium (10%) with the ionization potentials I(H) = 13.6 eV and I(He) = 24.6 eV, respectively. This chapter focuses on processes that involve the hydrogen atom. Topics discussed include photoionization of atoms, recombination, electron excitation and ionization, total and local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE), non-LTE astrophysical media, and photoselective excitation.
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