Chemical composition of the solar surface

Allende Prieto, Carlos
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Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy

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The Sun provides a standard reference against which we compare the chemical abundances found anywhere else in the Universe. Nevertheless, there is not a unique `solar' composition, since the chemical abundances found in the solar interior, the photosphere, the upper atmosphere, or the solar wind, are not exactly the same. The composition of the solar photosphere, usually preferred as a reference, changes with time due to diffusion, convection, and probably accretion. In addition, we do not know the solar photospheric abundances, inferred from the analysis of the solar spectrum using model atmospheres, with high accuracy, and uncertainties for many elements exceed 25%. This article gives an overview of the methods and pitfalls of spectroscopic analysis, and discusses the chemistry of the Sun in the context of the solar system.
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Allende Prieto