Space Science Reviews

, Volume 72, Issue 1–2, pp 49–60 | Cite as

Origin of the solar wind from composition data

  • J. Geiss
  • G. Gloeckler
  • R. Von Steiger
Session 1: The Sun and Corona


The ESA/NASA spacecraft Ulysses is making, for the first time, direct measurements in the solar wind originating from virtually all places where the corona expands. Since the initial two polar passes of Ulysses occur during relatively quiet solar conditions, we discuss here the three main regimes of quasi-stationary solar wind flow: the high speed streams (HSSTs) coming out of the polar coronal holes, the slow solar wind surrounding the HSSTs, and the streamers which occur at B-field reversals. Comparisons between H-α maps and data taken by Ulysses demonstrate that as a result of super-radial expansion, the HSSTs occupy a much larger solid angle than that derived from radial projections of coronal holes. Data obtained with SWICS-Ulysses confirm that the strength of the FIP effect is much reduced in the HSSTs. The systematics in the variations of elemental abundances becomes particularly clear, if these are plotted against the time of ionisation (at the solar surface) rather than against the first ionisation potential (FIP). We have used a superposed-epoch method to investigate the changes in solar wind speed and composition measured during the 9-month period in 1992/93 when Ulysses regularly passed into and out of the southern HSST. We find that the patterns in the variations of the Mg/O and O7+/O6+ ratios are virtually identical and that their transition from high to low values is very steep. Since the Mg/O ratio is controlled by the FIP effect and the O7+/O6+ ratio reflects the coronal temperature, this finding points to a connection between chromospheric and coronal conditions.


Solar Wind Coronal Hole Solar Wind Speed Slow Solar Wind Polar Coronal Hole 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Geiss
    • 1
  • G. Gloeckler
    • 2
  • R. Von Steiger
    • 3
  1. 1.Physikalisches InstitutUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  3. 3.Physikalisches InstitutUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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