Numerical simulations of Fe II emission spectra

E. M. Verner, D. A. Verner, K. T. Korista, J. W. Ferguson, F. Hamann, G. J. Ferland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


This paper describes the techniques that we have used to incorporate a large-scale model of the Fe+ ion and resulting Fe II emission into CLOUDY, a spectral synthesis code designed to simulate conditions within a plasma and model the resulting spectrum. We describe the numerical methods we use to determine the level populations, mutual line overlap fluorescence, collisional effects, and the heating-cooling effects of the atom on its environment. As currently implemented, the atom includes the lowest 371 levels (up to 11.6 eV) and predicts intensities of 68,635 lines. We describe our data sources, which include the most recent transition probabilities and collision strengths. Although we use detailed fits to temperature-dependent collision strengths where possible, in many cases the uncertain ḡ approximation is the only source for collision data. The atom is designed to be readily expanded to include more levels and to incorporate more accurate sets of collision and radiative data as computers grow faster and the atomic databases expand. We present several test cases showing that the atom goes to LTE in the limits of high particle and radiation densities. We give an overview of general features of the Fe II spectra as their dependencies on the basic parameters of our models (density, flux, microturbulent velocity, the Fe abundance, and Lyα pumping). Finally, we discuss several applications to active Galactic nuclei to illustrate the diagnostic power of the Fe II spectrum and make some predictions for UV observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-112
Number of pages12
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999


  • Atomic processes
  • ISM: atoms
  • Line: formation
  • Methods: numerical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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