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Title: Simulation of Stark-broadened Hydrogen Balmer-line Shapes for DA White Dwarf Synthetic Spectra

White dwarfs (WDs) are useful across a wide range of astrophysical contexts. The appropriate interpretation of their spectra relies on the accuracy of WD atmosphere models. One essential ingredient of atmosphere models is the theory used for the broadening of spectral lines. To date, the models have relied on Vidal et al., known as the unified theory of line broadening (VCS). There have since been advancements in the theory; however, the calculations used in model atmosphere codes have only received minor updates. Meanwhile, advances in instrumentation and data have uncovered indications of inaccuracies: spectroscopic temperatures are roughly 10% higher and spectroscopic masses are roughly 0.1Mhigher than their photometric counterparts. The evidence suggests that VCS-based treatments of line profiles may be at least partly responsible. Gomez et al. developed a simulation-based line-profile code Xenomorph using an improved theoretical treatment that can be used to inform questions around the discrepancy. However, the code required revisions to sufficiently decrease noise for use in model spectra and to make it computationally tractable and physically realistic. In particular, we investigate three additional physical effects that are not captured in the VCS calculations: ion dynamics, higher-order multipole expansion, and an expanded basis set. We also more » implement a simulation-based approach to occupation probability. The present study limits the scope to the first three hydrogen Balmer transitions (Hα, Hβ, and Hγ). We find that screening effects and occupation probability have the largest effects on the line shapes and will likely have important consequences in stellar synthetic spectra.

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The Astrophysical Journal
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Article No. 70
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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