Detection of Voigt Spectral Line Profiles of Hydrogen Radio Recombination Lines toward Sagittarius B2(N)

A.A. Von Prochazka, A.J. Remijan, D.S. Balser, Robert Ryans, Adele Marshall, F.R. Schwab, J.M. Hollis, P.R. Jewell, F.J. Lovas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We report the detection of Voigt spectral line profiles of radio recombination lines (RRLs) toward Sagittarius B2(N) with the 100 m Green Bank Telescope (GBT). At radio wavelengths, astronomical spectra are highly populated with RRLs, which serve as ideal probes of the physical conditions in molecular cloud complexes. An analysis of the Hn alpha lines presented herein shows that RRLs of higher principal quantum number (n > 90) are generally divergent from their expected Gaussian profiles and, moreover, are well described by their respective Voigt profiles. This is in agreement with the theory that spectral lines experience pressure broadening as a result of electron collisions at lower radio frequencies. Given the inherent technical difficulties regarding the detection and profiling of true RRL wing spans and shapes, it is crucial that the observing instrumentation produce flat baselines as well as high-sensitivity, high-resolution data. The GBT has demonstrated its capabilities regarding all of these aspects, and we believe that future observations of RRL emission via the GBT will be crucial toward advancing our knowledge of the larger-scale extended structures of ionized gas in the interstellar medium (ISM).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-362
Number of pages9
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number889
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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