Isotopic Composition of Solar Wind Nitrogen: First In-Situ Determination by CELIAS/MTOF on Board SOHO

Authors : R. Kallenbach, J. Geiss, F. M. Ipavich, G. Gloeckler, P. Bochsler, F. Gliem, S. Hefti, M. Hilchenbach, and D. Hovestadt.

Submitted an abstract to the AGU fall meeting 1998.

Using the high-resolution mass spectrometer CELIAS/MTOF on board SOHO we have determined the solar wind isotope abundance ratio of N, 14N/15N = 200±55 (1σ-error), suggesting a depletion of 15N in the terrestrial atmosphere compared to solar matter. This result is compatible with the hypothesis that terrestrial N (14N/15N = 272) and also N found in lunar surface material are a mixture of a heavy component identical with solar N and an unspecified light component. The large variations of 14N/15N in solar system matter is caused by special isotope enrichment processes as in the case of Mars as well as by varying mixtures of isotopically different components.

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Last Update: September 8, 1998, James Weygand