The Elemental Composition of the Corona of Procyon: Evidence for the Absence of the FIP Effect

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Science  10 Mar 1995:
Vol. 267, Issue 5203, pp. 1470-1473
DOI: 10.1126/science.267.5203.1470


The chemical composition of the solar corona is not the same as that of the underlying photosphere. In the corona, elements with a first ionization potential (FIP) of ≤10 electron volts (for example, iron, magnesium, silicon, and calcium) are overabundant relative to those with an FIP of ≥10 electron volts (for example, oxygen, neon, and sulfur) by factors of 3 to 10 with respect to the photosphere. The origin of this FIP effect is unknown. The launch of the Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer Satellite (EUVE) opened up the spectroscopic capability required to determine elemental abundances in the coronae of other stars. Spectroscopic observations of the corona of the nearby F5 IV star Procyon obtained with EUVE have yielded estimates of the relative abundances of high- and low-FIP species. The results provide evidence that Procyon, unlike the sun, does not exhibit the FIP effect. Whether the sun or Procyon is more typical of the general late-type stellar population is of fundamental interest to the physics of stellar outer atmospheres and has a bearing on the origin of cosmic rays.

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