Atomic and molecular astrophysics, including both spectroscopy and collision processes, enables astronomers to translate the information carried by photons, collected and energy‐analyzed in both ground‐ and space‐based instruments, into understanding and knowledge of diverse astronomical objects. In this paper I focus on the role of atomic and molecular astrophysics (a part of the general field of Laboratory Astrophysics) in both providing overall understanding of new phenomena and contributing sensitive diagnostic probes to use in characterizing astrophysical X‐ray sources.

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