dielectronic recombination

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A process by which an ion recombines with an electron in nebulae and hot interstellar gas, at temperatures above 10 000 K. The ion captures the electron into a particular energy level, but the electron's energy is transferred to another electron in a lower orbit, which is then excited to a higher level. As the electron returns to its lower level, it radiates away this energy, and the ion is said to have recombined. It is termed dielectronic recombination because two electrons take part in the process, and is the opposite of autoionization.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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