Status Report

Solar Wind Contains More Oxygen Than Previously Thought

By SpaceRef Editor
December 4, 2010
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The following summarizes a research paper recently published in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL).

Oxygen is abundant in the Sun, yet the solar oxygen abundance has not been measured with high accuracy. Von Steiger et al. use long-term solar wind data from the Ulysses spacecraft to measure the flux of oxygen ions, the flux of protons, and the ratio of the two. The new measurements suggest that the solar oxygen abundance may be slightly higher than other recent studies have found. An accurate value for the solar oxygen abundance is important for interpreting helioseismological analyses and for understanding the chemical evolution of the galaxy and solar system.

Title: Oxygen Flux in the Solar Wind: Ulysses Observations

Authors: Rudolf von Steiger: International Space Science Institute, Bern, Switzerland; Thomas H. Zurbuchen: Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; David J. McComas: Space Science and Engineering Division, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas, USA; and Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2010GL045389, 2010

The foregoing link points to the paper’s scientific abstract. Journalists and public information officers (PIOs) at educational or scientific institutions, who are registered with AGU, also may download the full paper. Instructions for members of the news media, PIOs, and the public for downloading or ordering the full text of any AGU research paper are available at

SpaceRef staff editor.