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Ercolano, Barbara and Owen, James E. (2016): Blueshifted [O i] lines from protoplanetary discs: the smoking gun of X-ray photoevaporation. In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 460, No. 4: pp. 3472-3478

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Photoevaporation of protoplanetary discs by high-energy radiation from the central young stellar object is currently the favourite model to explain the sudden dispersal of discs from the inside out. While several theoretical works have provided a detailed pictured of this process, the direct observational validation is still lacking. Emission lines produced in these slow-moving protoplanetary disc winds may bear the imprint of the wind structure and thus provide a potential diagnostic of the underlying dispersal process. In this paper, we primarily focus on the collisionally excited neutral oxygen line at 6300 angstrom. We compare our models predictions to observational data and demonstrate a thermal origin for the observed blueshifted low-velocity component of this line from protoplanetary discs. Furthermore, our models show that while this line is a clear tell-tale sign of a warm, quasi-neutral disc wind, typical of X-ray photoevaporation, its strong temperature dependence makes it unsuitable to measure detailed wind quantities like mass-loss rate.

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