Computation of Non-Maxwellian Electron Excitation Rates for Ions of Astrophysical Interest: Fe xv A Test Case
Dzifčáková previously developed a method for calculating the influence of nonthermal electron-velocity distributions on the intensities of spectral lines ( Solar Phys. 234, 243, 2006; In: Lacoste, H., Ouwehand, L. (eds.) SOHO-17. 10 Years of SOHO and Beyond, SP-617, ESA, Noordwijk, 89, 2006). Here, we study this method in detail for the test case: Fe xv. It involves fitting a parametric form to the electron-excitation data in the <ExternalRef> <RefSource>CHIANTI</RefSource> <RefTarget Address="http://CHIANTI" TargetType="URL"/> </ExternalRef> atomic database. We assess the reliability of these fits by comparing them with the source atomic data, both Upsilons (Maxwellian-averaged collision strengths) and the original collision strengths. An accuracy for the method of better than 15% is deduced for all transitions, with a much higher accuracy than this for the strong electric-dipole transitions. A κ-distribution, which has an increased number of electrons in the high-energy tail of the distribution, is considered as an example. The shape of the κ-distribution affects the electron-excitation rate and thus the relative intensities of the spectral lines. Since the shape of the electron distribution function also influences the ionization balance of Fe, both effects change the final intensities of the lines. Synthetic spectra for Fe xv and Fe xvi in the wavelength range 50 80 Å are presented for a κ-distribution and compared with solar observations.