An Anomalous Composition in Slow Solar Wind as a Signature of Magnetic Reconnection in its Source Region
In this paper, we study a subset of slow solar winds characterized by an anomalous charge state composition and ion temperatures compared to average solar wind distributions, and thus referred to as an “Outlier” wind. We find that although this wind is slower and denser than normal slow wind, it is accelerated from the same source regions (active regions and quiet-Sun regions) as the latter and its occurrence rate depends on the solar cycle. The defining property of the Outlier wind is that its charge state composition is the same as that of normal slow wind, with the only exception being a very large decrease in the abundance of fully charged species (He2+, C6+, N7+, O8+, Mg12+), resulting in a significant depletion of the He and C element abundances. Based on these observations, we suggest three possible scenarios for the origin of this wind: (1) local magnetic waves preferentially accelerating non-fully stripped ions over fully stripped ions from a loop opened by reconnection; (2) depleted fully stripped ions already contained in the corona magnetic loops before they are opened up by reconnection; or (3) fully stripped ions depleted by Coulomb collision after magnetic reconnection in the solar corona. If any one of these three scenarios is confirmed, the Outlier wind represents a direct signature of slow wind release through magnetic reconnection.