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Session 49 - The Frontiers of Far Ultraviolet Astrophysics - I.
Topical, Oral session, Wednesday, June 10

[49.02] The Fascination of Far-UV Astrophysics

J. L. Linsky (JILA/Univ. Colorado)

A one-day topical session will review the observational and theoretical status of astrophysical problems where data in the 900 to 1200 Å\ range are essential for future advances. The session will include the study of FUV rest wavelengths at high redshifts. For example, the deuterium-to-hydrogen abundance ratio will address the Milky Way and QSO absorption line systems. The FUV spectral region is well known for its unique spectral features and important scientific problems they address. The Lyman series of atomic hydrogen provides the only means to determine the production of deuterium in the Big Bang and its subsequent processing during galactic chemical evolution. The resonance doublet of the O VI ion is the highest temperature resonance line available to study the abundance and kinematics of diffuse hot gas in the disk and halo of the Galaxy and hot gas in accretion disks. The Lyman and Werner bands, the only electronic transitions of molecular hydrogen, probe cold gas in the diffuse ISM as well as the outer regions of dense molecular clouds. Strong transitions of several ionization states of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, neon, sulphur, and argon provide unique diagnostics for studying interstellar gas and emission plasmas. This special session focuses on recent observational material and how the data limit the range of acceptable pictures. This session will highlight key puzzles and describe anticipated progress from new instrumentation, in particular the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) mission, due to be launched in early 1999.

The first talk of the session will summarize the critically important spectral diagnostics that reside in the FUV spectral region and show how they allow FUSE to address the main scientific objectives of FUV astrophysics. FUSE spectra will also enhance the value of longer wavelength spectra provided by HST and IUE, shorter wavelength spectra of EUVE and soon AXAF, lower sensitivity FUV spectra of Copernicus, and lower resolution FUV spectra of ORFEUS.

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