Resonance line transfer with partial redistribution. IV. A generalized formulation for lines with common upper states.
A generalized formulation is given for treating partial redistribution effects in transfer problems in resonance lines with common upper states. The formulation allows explicitly for the possibility that several spectral lines may arise in transitions from a given upper level to several sharp lower levels, including, for example, the ground state and metastable states. Line profiles for the Ca II H and K lines have been calculated, accounting for the partial frequency coherence of scattered photons. These profiles are compared with calculations made with identical atomic and atmospheric models but assuming complete redistribution. Very significant differences between the profiles obtained using these two different physical descriptions of the scattering process are found, and it is now apparent that the assumption of complete redistribution is a serious oversimplification of the actual physical situation. The results question the validity of equating brightness temperatures observed at K1 in stellar spectra with minimum temperatures in stellar chromospheres; it appears likely that such a procedure will systematically underestimate the value of T-min.