Solar abundances of oxygen and neon derived from solar wind observations
Physikalisches Institut, Universität Bern, Sidlerstrasse 5, 3012 Bern, Switzerland e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 2 June 2007
Context.Recently, a revision of the solar abundances of C, N, and O to substantially lower values has led to a controversy on solar opacities in the solar standard model and to the suggestion to revise the solar abundance of neon upward by as much as a factor of 1.6 leading to enhanced solar neon/oxygen abundance ratios by a factor of 3. Neon and oxygen are neighboring elements with easily defined charged states in the solar wind, and they have been well identified and measured for over two decades in the solar wind under many circumstances and with several instruments. The solar wind Ne/O ratio is 0.14 with a conservative error estimate of ±0.03, consistent with the coronal value derived from solar energetic particle measurements.
Aims.We investigate, whether solar wind observations are consistent with the newly proposed elemental solar abundances of neon and oxygen.
Methods.The solar helium abundance has been derived from helioseismological observations. Helium and neon abundances in the solar wind have been well determined with the Apollo Foil experiments and, more recently, confirmed with the Genesis sample return mission. With these observations and the neon/oxygen solar wind abundance ratio determined by in-situ mass-spectrometry and using a simple theoretical model of Coulomb-drag fractionation for the solar wind, we estimate solar abundances for neon and oxygen.
Results.From the variability of the helium/oxygen and the helium/neon ratio in the solar wind and from theoretical considerations, we conclude that the helium/neon ratio in the outer solar convective zone is 900 ± 110. Our best estimates of the solar neon and oxygen abundances in logarithmic dex-units are [Ne] = 7.96 ± 0.13, and [O] = 8.87 ± 0.11.
Conclusions.Our solar neon/oxygen abundance ratio is consistent with the ratio derived from EUV-spectra from SOHO/CDS. However, our absolute abundance for oxygen is only marginally compatible with the newly derived value for oxygen, and our neon value is clearly incompatible with the recently proposed enhancement of the solar neon abundance.
Key words: Sun: solar wind / Sun: photosphere / Sun: corona / Sun: abundances
© ESO, 2007