Is the solar spectrum latitude-dependent?
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Context: In studies of the solar spectrum relative to spectra of solar twin stars, it has been found that the chemical composition of the Sun seems to depart systematically from those of the twins. One possible explanation is that the effect is due to the special aspect angle of the Sun when observed from Earth, as compared with the aspect angles of the twins. Thus, a latitude dependence of the solar spectrum, even with the heliocentric angle constant, could lead to effects of the type
... f the type observed. Aim: We explore a possible variation in the strength of certain spectral lines, used in the comparisons between the composition of the Sun and the twins, at loci on the solar disk with different latitudes but at constant heliocentric angle. Methods: We use the TRIPPEL spectrograph at the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope on La Palma to record spectra in five spectral regions in order to compare different locations on the solar disk at a heliocentric angle of 45 deg. Equivalent widths and other parameters are measured for fifteen different lines representing nine atomic species. Results: The relative variations in equivalent widths at the equator and at solar latitude 45 deg are found to be less than 1.5 % for all spectral lines studied. Translated to elemental abundances as they would be measured from a terrestrial and a hypothetical pole-on observer, the difference is estimated to be within 0.005 dex in all cases. Conclusion: It is very unlikely that latitude effects could cause the reported abundance difference between the Sun and the solar twins. The accuracy obtainable in measurements of small differences in spectral line strengths between different solar disk positions is very high.