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Published March 2021 | Published
Journal Article Open

The XSTAR Atomic Database


We describe the atomic database of the xstar spectral modeling code, summarizing the systematic upgrades carried out in the past twenty years to enable the modeling of K-lines from chemical elements with atomic number Z≤30 and recent extensions to handle high-density plasmas. Such plasma environments are found, for instance, in the inner region of accretion disks round compact objects (neutron stars and black holes), which emit rich information about the system's physical properties. Our intention is to offer a reliable modeling tool to take advantage of the outstanding spectral capabilities of the new generation of X-ray space telescopes (e.g., xrism and athena) to be launched in the coming years. Data curatorial aspects are discussed and an updated list of reference sources is compiled to improve the database provenance metadata. Two xstar spin-offs—the ISMabs absorption model and the uaDB database—are also described.

Additional Information

© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Received: 3 December 2020 / Revised: 21 January 2021 / Accepted: 27 January 2021 / Published: 5 February 2021. (This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Perspectives of Atomic and Molecular Databases) We are grateful to Anil. K. Pradhan (Ohio State University) for access to and space-time allocation at the Ohio Supercomputer Center and also to the NASA Private Cloud at GSFC for access and virtual machine installation, especially to Michael D. Moore for invaluable support. J.D. is a Research Fellow of the Belgian Fund for Research in Industry and Agriculture (FRIA). P.P. & P.Q. are, respectively, Research Associate and Research Director of the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research F.R.S.–FNRS. Financial support from these organizations as well as from the NASA Astrophysics Research and Analysis Program (grants 12-APRA12-0070; 80NSSC17K0345; and 80NSSC19K0586) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation are gratefully acknowledged. Author Contributions. Conceptualization, C.M., M.A.B. and T.R.K.; methodology, C.M., E.G., J.A.G., J.D., M.A.B., M.C.W., P.P., P.Q., T.R.K. and T.W.G.; software, C.M., E.G., J.A.G., M.A.B., M.C.W., P.P., T.R.K. and T.W.G.; validation, J.A.G., M.A.B., P.P. and T.R.K.; formal analysis, C.M., E.G., J.A.G., J.D., M.A.B., M.C.W., P.P., P.Q., T.R.K. and T.W.G.; investigation, C.M., E.G., J.A.G., J.D., M.A.B., M.C.W., P.P. and T.R.K.; validation, C.M., M.A.B., P.P. and T.R.K.; resources, M.A.B., P.Q., T.R.K.; data curation, C.M., M.A.B., P.P. and T.R.K.; writing—original draft preparation, C.M., E.G., M.C.W. and T.R.K.; writing—review and editing, C.M., E.G., J.A.G., J.D., M.A.B., M.C.W., P.P., P.Q., T.R.K. and T.W.G.; visualization, C.M., M.C.W. and T.R.K; supervision, T.R.K.; project administration, M.A.B., P.Q. T.R.K.; funding acquisition, J.A.G., P.P., P.Q. and T.R.K. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript. Data Availability Statement. The xstar modeling code, the uaDB database, and the ISMabs model are available from the website of the NASA High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC, https://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/). The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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August 22, 2023
October 23, 2023