Terrestrial aurora: astrophysical laboratory for anomalous abundances in stellar systems
- Space Sciences, UC Berkeley CA 94720, USA
Abstract. The unique magnetic structure of the terrestrial aurora as a conduit of information between the ionosphere and magnetosphere can be utilized as a laboratory for physical processes at similar magnetic configurations and applied to various evolutionary phases of the solar (stellar) system. The most spectacular heliospheric abundance enhancement involves the 3He isotope and selective heavy elements in impulsive solar flares. In situ observations of electromagnetic waves on active aurora are extrapolated to flaring corona in an analysis of solar acceleration processes of 3He, the only element that may resonate strongly with the waves, as well as heavy ions with specific charge-to-mass ratios, which may resonate weaker via their higher gyroharmonics. These results are applied to two observed anomalous astrophysical abundances: (1) enhanced abundance of 3He and possibly 13C in the late stellar evolutionary stages of planetary nebulae; and (2) enhanced abundance of the observed fossil element 26Mg in meteorites as a decay product of radioactive 26Al isotope due to interaction with the flare-energized 3He in the early solar system.