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J. Martin Laming (Naval Research Laboratory)
Atomic physics calculations of radiative cooling are used to calculate criteria for the overstability of radiating shocks. Our calculations explain the measurement of shock overstability by Grun et al. (Phys. Rev. Lett. 66, 2738, 1991) and explain why the overstability was not observed in other experiments. The methodology described here (and in Laming & Grun, Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 125002, 2002) can be especially useful in astrophysical situations where the relevant properties leading to an overstability can be measured spectroscopically, but the effective adiabatic index is harder to determine. Further developments in atomic physics calculations are outlined. A more realistic model for the shock jump is employed, and significantly improved agreement between theory and experiment is found. Work supported by Basic Research Funds of the Office of Naval Research.
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