Chapter

Astrophysical rarefied gas/plasma

Vladilen Letokhov and Sveneric Johansson

in Astrophysical Lasers

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780199548279
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720512 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199548279.003.0005
 Astrophysical rarefied gas/plasma

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The ranges of gas (plasma) density, energy density, and temperature in astrophysical media are rather wide. For astrophysical lasers the most interesting media are those where significant deviations from local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) occur. Then, it is necessary that the collisions of particles do not dominate over radiative transitions, i.e., collisions should play a limited part in establishing steady state, which allows non-LTE in the plasma. This chapter focuses on gaseous media with low densities nearby a hot blue star (blobs, shells, etc.). Regarding density they take up an intermediate position between planetary nebulae and stellar atmospheres, and it is in these gas condensations that laser effects and even nonlinear optical effects, the subject of this book, may take place.

Keywords: hot star; planetary nebulae; spectral emissions; gas condensation; symbiotic stars; gas density

Chapter.  6676 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

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