H II regions

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Term: H II regions

A type of emission nebulae composed of very hot gas (about 10^4 K), mainly ionized hydrogen, created by the ultraviolet radiation of massive stars. H II regions originate when O or early-type stars, born in giant molecular clouds, start heating up the cold gas, causing it to become ionized and 'glow'. The effective temperatures of the exciting stars are in the range 3 x 10^4 to 5 x 10^4 K, and throughout the nebula hydrogen is ionized. Helium is singly ionized, and other elements are mostly singly or doubly ionized. Typical densities in the H II region are of the order 10 to 10^2 cm^-3, ranging as high as 10^4 cm^-3. Internal motions occur in the gas with velocities of order 10 km s^-1. The spectra of H II regions are mainly composed of strong H I recombination lines and forbidden lines such as [O III], [O II], [N II].

Created 2023.04.16
Last Modified 2023.04.16
Contributed by Ryan McGranaghan