LINE BROADENING and the SOLAR OPACITY PROBLEM

M. Krief, A. Feigel, D. Gazit

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30 Scopus citations

Abstract

The calculation of line widths constitutes theoretical and computational challenges in the calculation of opacities of hot, dense plasmas. Opacity models use line broadening approximations that are untested at stellar interior conditions. Moreover, calculations of atomic spectra of the Sun indicate a large discrepancy in the K-shell line widths between several atomic codes and the Opacity-Project (OP). In this work, the atomic code STAR is used to study the sensitivity of solar opacities to line broadening. Variations in the solar opacity profile due to an increase of the Stark widths resulting from discrepancies with OP, are compared, in light of the solar opacity problem, with the required opacity variations of the present day Sun, as imposed by helioseismic and neutrino observations. The resulting variation profile is much larger than the discrepancy between different atomic codes, agrees qualitatively with the missing opacity profile, recovers about half of the missing opacity nearby the convection boundary, and has a little effect in the internal regions. Since it is hard to estimate quantitatively the uncertainty in the Stark widths, we show that an increase of all line widths by a factor of about ∼100 recovers quantitatively the missing opacity. These results emphasize the possibility that photoexcitation processes are not modeled properly, and more specifically, highlight the need for a better theoretical characterization of the line broadening phenomena at stellar interior conditions, and of the uncertainty due to the way it is implemented by atomic codes.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number98
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume824
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Sun: interior
  • atomic data
  • atomic processes
  • dense matter
  • opacity
  • plasmas

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