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The Astrophysical Journal


IOP Publishing on behalf of The American Astronomical Society

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We use Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE)/Solar Wind Ion Composition Spectrometer (SWICS) elemental composition data to compare the variations in solar wind (SW) fractionation as measured by SWICS during the last solar maximum (1999-2001), the solar minimum (2006-2009), and the period in which the Genesis spacecraft was collecting SW (late 2001-early 2004). We differentiate our analysis in terms in SW regimes (i.e., originating from interstream or coronal hole flows, or coronal mass ejecta). Abundances are normalized to the low-first ionization potential (low-FIP) ion magnesium to uncover correlations that are not apparent when normalizing to high-FIP ions. We find that relative to magnesium, the other low-FIP elements are measurably fractionated, but the degree of fractionation does not vary significantly over the solar cycle. For the high-FIP ions, variations in fractionation over the solar cycle is significant: greatest for Ne/Mg and C/Mg, less so for O/Mg, and the least for He/Mg. When abundance ratios are examined as a function of SW speed, we find a strong correlation, with the remarkable observation that the degrees of fractionation follows a mass-dependent trend. We discuss the implications for correcting the Genesis sample return results to photospheric abundances.




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