Solar Physics

, Volume 281, Issue 2, pp 697-706

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Helium Emissions Observed in Ground-Based Spectra of Solar Prominences

  • R. RamelliAffiliated withIstituto Ricerche Solari
  • , G. StellmacherAffiliated withInstitute d’Astrophysique
  • , E. WiehrAffiliated withInstitut für Astrophysik Email author 
  • , M. BiandaAffiliated withIstituto Ricerche Solari


The only prominent line of singly ionized helium in the visible spectral range, He ii 4686 Å, is observed together with the He i 5015 Å singlet and the He i 4471 Å triplet line in solar prominences. The Na D2 emission is used as a tracer for He ii emissions which are sufficiently bright to exceed the noise level near 10−6 of the disk-center intensity. The prominences thus selected are characterized by small non-thermal line broadening and almost absent velocity shifts, yielding narrow line profiles without wiggles. The reduced widths [Δλ D/λ] of He ii 4686 Å are 1.5 times broader than those of the He i 4471 Å triplet and 1.65 times broader than those of the He i 5015 Å singlet. This indicates that the He lines originate in a prominence–corona transition region with outwards increasing temperature.


Prominences Quiescent Helium ionization