A Resource for X-ray Astronomers
At high temperature and density, collisions strip electrons away from nuclei, creating a plasma of ions and free electrons. Further collisions in this plasma stimulate the emission of light, leading to complex spectra. AtomDB is designed to catalog these spectra with a particular focus on X-rays, based on laboratory experiments and theoretical calculations.
The database is useful for astronomers doing X-ray observations of extreme environments such as galaxy clusters and the material swirling around black holes or other compact gravitationally-powerful bodies. The spectra can also be used for astrophysical modeling of these systems, to provide the best detailed theories for how extreme environments behave. The HITRAN and HITEMP databases provide similar resources for molecular spectroscopy.