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Astrophys J. 2000 Feb 10;530(1):L49-L52.

Broad Halpha Wing Formation in the Planetary Nebula IC 4997.


The young and compact planetary nebula IC 4997 is known to exhibit very broad wings with a width exceeding 5000 km s-1 around Halpha. We propose that the broad wings are formed through Rayleigh-Raman scattering that involves atomic hydrogen, by which Lybeta photons with a velocity width of a few 102 km s-1 are converted to optical photons and fill the Halpha broad wing region. The conversion efficiency reaches 0.6 near the line center, where the scattering optical depth is much larger than 1, and rapidly decreases in the far wings. Assuming that close to the central star there exists an unresolved inner compact core of high density, nH approximately 109-1010 cm-3, we use the photoionization code "CLOUDY" to show that sufficient Lybeta photons for scattering are produced. Using a top-hat-incident profile for the Lybeta flux and a scattering region with a H i column density NHi=2x1020 cm-2 and a substantial covering factor, we perform a profile-fitting analysis in order to obtain a satisfactory fit to the observed flux. We briefly discuss the astrophysical implications of the Rayleigh-Raman processes in planetary nebulae and other emission objects.


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