Charge State Evolution in the Solar Wind. II. Plasma Charge State Composition in the Inner Corona and Accelerating Fast Solar Wind
In the present work, we calculate the evolution of the charge state distribution within the fast solar wind. We use the temperature, density, and velocity profiles predicted by Cranmer et al. to calculate the ionization history of the most important heavy elements in the solar corona and solar wind: C, N, O, Ne, Mg, Si, S, and Fe. The evolution of each charge state is calculated from the source region in the lower chromosphere to the final freeze-in point. We show that the solar wind velocity causes the plasma to experience significant departures from equilibrium at very low heights, well inside the field of view (within 0.6 R sun from the solar limb) of nearly all the available remote-sensing instrumentation, significantly affecting observed spectral line intensities. We also study the evolution of charge state ratios with distance from the source region, and the temperature they indicate if ionization equilibrium is assumed. We find that virtually every charge state from every element freezes in at a different height, so that the definition of freeze-in height is ambiguous. We also find that calculated freeze-in temperatures indicated by charge state ratios from in situ measurements have little relation to the local coronal temperature of the wind source region, and stop evolving much earlier than their correspondent charge state ratio. We discuss the implication of our results on plasma diagnostics of coronal holes from spectroscopic measurements as well as on theoretical solar wind models relying on coronal temperatures.