Composition of quasi-stationary solar wind flows from ulysses/solar wind ion composition spectrometer

Academic Article


  • Using improved, self‐consistent analysis techniques, we determine the average solar wind charge state and elemental composition of nearly 40 ion species of He, C, N, O, Ne, Mg, Si, S, and Fe observed with the Solar Wind Ion Composition Spectrometer on Ulysses. We compare results obtained during selected time periods, including both slow solar wind and fast streams, concentrating on the quasi‐stationary flows away from recurrent or intermittent disturbances such as corotating interaction regions or coronal mass ejections. In the fast streams the charge state distributions are consistent with a single freezing‐in temperature for each element, whereas in the slow wind these distributions appear to be composed of contributions from a range of temperatures. The elemental composition shows the well‐known first ionization potential (FIP) bias of the solar wind composition with respect to the photosphere. However, it appears that our average enrichment factor of low‐FIP elements in the slow wind, not quite a factor of 3, is smaller than that in previous compilations. In fast streams the FIP bias is found to be yet smaller but still significantly above 1, clearly indicating that the FIP fractionation effect is also active beneath coronal holes from where the fast wind originates. This imposes basic requirements upon FIP fractionation models, which should reproduce the stronger and more variable low‐FIP bias in the slow wind and a weaker (and perhaps conceptually different) low‐FIP bias in fast streams. Taken together, these results firmly establish the fundamental difference between the two quasi‐stationary solar wind types.
  • Authors

  • von Steiger, R
  • Schwadron, Nathan
  • Fisk, LA
  • Geiss, J
  • Gloeckler, G
  • Hefti, S
  • Wilken, B
  • Wimmer-Schweingruber, RF
  • Zurbuchen, TH
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • December 1, 2000
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 27217
  • End Page

  • 27238
  • Volume

  • 105
  • Issue

  • A12