Solar Elemental Composition Based on Studies of Solar Energetic Particles
Solar abundances can be derived from the composition of the solar wind and solar energetic particles (SEPs) as well as obtained through spectroscopic means. Past comparisons have suggested that all three samples agree well, when rigidity-related fractionation effects on the SEPs were accounted for. It has been known that such effects vary from one event to the next and should be addressed on an event-by-event basis. This paper examines event variability more closely, particularly in terms of energy-dependent SEP abundances. This is now possible using detailed SEP measurements spanning several decades in energy from the Ultra Low Energy Isotope Spectrometer (ULEIS) and the Solar Isotope Spectrometer (SIS) on the ACE spacecraft. We present examples of the variability of the elemental composition with energy and suggest they can be understood in terms of diffusion from the acceleration region near the interplanetary shock. By means of a spectral scaling procedure, we obtain energy-independent abundance ratios for 14 large SEP events and compare them to reported solar wind and coronal abundances as well as to previous surveys of SEP events.