He-like ions as practical astrophysical plasma diagnostics: From stellar coronae to active galactic nuclei

Delphine Porquet (1), Jacques Dubau (2), Nicolas Grosso (1)

1- Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg, France; 2- Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale, Orsay, France

We review X-ray plasma diagnostics based on the line ratios of He-like ions. Triplet/singlet line intensities can be used
to determine electronic temperature and density, and were first developed for the study of the solar corona. Since the launches of the X-ray satellites Chandra and XMM-Newton, these diagnostics have been extended and used (from C V to Si XIII) for a wide variety of astrophysical plasmas such as stellar coronae, supernova remnants, solar system objects, active galactic nuclei, and X-ray binaries. Moreover, the intensities of He-like ions can be used to determine the ionization process(es) at work, as well as the distance between the X-ray plasma and the UV emission source for example in hot stars. In the near future thanks to the next generation of X-ray satellites (e.g., Astro-H and IXO), higher-Z He-like lines (e.g., iron) will be resolved, allowing plasmas with higher temperatures and densities to be probed. Moreover, the so-called satellite lines that are formed closed to parent He-like lines, will provide additional valuable diagnostics to determine electronic temperature, ionic fraction, departure from ionization equilibrium and/or from Maxwellian electron distribution.

Reference: Space Science Reviews (in press)
Status: Manuscript has been accepted

Weblink: http://arxiv.org/abs/1101.3184

Comments: the final publication is available at http://www.springerlink.com

Email: delphine.porquet@astro.unistra.fr