NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
The ionization state in a gas with a non-Maxwellian electron distributionThe inferred degree of ionization of a gas is often used in astrophysics as a diagnostic of the gas temperature. In the solar transition region and corona, in the outer atmospheres of cool stars, and in some portions of the interstellar medium), photoionization can be neglected, and the ionization state is fixed by the balance between ion-electron collisional ionization and dielectronic and/or radiative recombination. Under these conditions, higher degrees of ionization result from higher energy ion-electron collisions which are common in a high temperature gas. Actually, ionization occurs through collisions with electrons that have kinetic energies greater than the ionization potential of the given ion, and so the ionization rate depends on to the number of such high-energy electrons in the tail of the electron velocity distribution. High-velocity electrons move across large distances between effective coulomb collisions, and, in a strong temperature or density gradient, the tail can be overpopulated relative to Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of equivalent energy density. Thus, the ionization rate can also be greatly increased. These effects for a parameterized form of the electron distribution function with an enhanced high-velocity tail, namely the kappa distribution are illustrated.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Owocki, S. P. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Scudder, J. D. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 11, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1981
Publication Information
Publication: Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory 2nd Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems, and the Sun, Vol. 1
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Related Records

IDRelationTitle19830012575Analytic PrimarySecond Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems, and the Sun, volume 1