AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 36 Stellar-Solar Connection: What the Stars Teach Us about Our Sun
SPD Topical Session, Tuesday, June 1, 2004, 8:30-10:00am, 10:45am-12:30pm, 702/704/706

[Previous] | [Session 36] | [Next]

[36.01] The Stellar-Solar Connection

T.R. Ayres (CASA)

Many solar-stellar astronomers believe that the solar-stellar connection primarily is a one-way street: the exquisitely detailed studies of the solar surface, interior, and heliosphere strongly mold our views of the distant, unresolved stars. Perhaps many solar physicists have gone so far as to adopt the myopic view that stellar astronomy, by and large, is merely sponging up the fabulous insights from ever deeper examinations of our local star, but the ``dark side'' is not really capable of returning the favor. What could we possibly learn from the stars, that we don't already know from much better observations of the Sun?

In my Introduction to this Topical Session, I will discuss two broad issues: (1) the present divergence between solar and stellar physics (driven by the different goals and tools of the two disciplines); and (2) the diversity of stars in the H-R diagram, to help inform our understanding of solar processes. Today, there are observations of stars that greatly exceed the quality of analogous solar measurements: e.g., HST/STIS UV echelle spectra of Alpha Cen A; Chandra transmission grating spectra of solar-type stars; and only recently have we obtained a definitive understanding of the Sun's soft X-ray luminosity in the key ROSAT/PSPC band. The lack of equivalent solar observations hinders practical applications of the solar-stellar connection. On the more informative side, the evolutionary paths of other stars can be quite different from the Sun's, with potentially dramatic influences on phenomena such as magnetic activity. Equally important, examples of Sun-like stars can be found at all stages of evolution, from proplyds to red giants, in the volume of nearby space out to 500 pc. In short, the solar-stellar connection need not be a one-way street, but rather a powerful tool to explore solar processes within the broader context of stars and stellar evolution.

This work was supported by NASA grant NAG5-13058.

[Previous] | [Session 36] | [Next]

Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #2
© YEAR. The American Astronomical Soceity.