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The Sun as a Star

  • Giulio Del Zanna
  • Helen Mason

Abstract

In this chapter we provide an overview of various observational and theoreticalaspects about the Sun, paying more attention to global ones, i.e., to thosewhere the Sun is considered as a star, so they can be more or less directlyrelated to those studied for other stars. The emphasis is on the processes bywhich energy is transferred to the solar atmosphere and then flows fromthe Sun in the form of radiation and particles. The chapter starts withan historical introduction, and then discusses various subjects, startingwith a brief description of the photosphere, the chromosphere, and thetransition region of the Sun. The interior of the Sun is then introduced,with the standard model and solar neutrinos, and with the observationsand theory of solar oscillations. We present some important results fromhelioseismology, and briefly discuss the problematics involved with theproduction and regeneration of the solar magnetic fields during a solarcycle.

We then discuss the atomic processes which lead to the formation of the optically thin radiation that is emitted from the X-rays to the UV from the solar corona. In particular, the spectroscopic diagnostic techniques which are used to determine the physical parameters of a stellar corona are discussed in some depth.

We describe some of the in situ and remote-sensing measurements and modeling that have been used to obtain the solar chemical abundances, and how they compare with stellar and galactic abundances. We then introduce the main features of the solar corona, together with observations and modeling of flares and coronal mass ejections. We conclude by describing two subjects of relevance for the entire solar system and in particular for our planet, the solar wind and the solar irradiance.

For each subject, we provide a brief historical overview, and then refer the reader to standard textbooks and recent literature. Our knowledge of the Sun as a star has progressed significantly over the last century, however a clear understanding of the physical processes at work in the interior of the Sun, in its atmosphere, and in the solar wind is still incomplete, and further challenges lie ahead. We should be able to understand our Sun, before we can attempt a complete description of other stars and astrophysical objects.

Keywords:Atomic processes; Helioseismology; Solar corona; Sun

Keywords

Solar Wind Coronal Mass Ejection Coronal Hole Solar Corona Solar Atmosphere 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giulio Del Zanna
    • 1
  • Helen Mason
    • 1
  1. 1.DAMTP, Centre for Mathematical SciencesUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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