Helium line emission – Its relation to atmospheric structure

Vincenzo Andretta (INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, Italy)

The title of this talk reprises the title of a 1980 paper by Carole Jordan on the anomalously high intensities of helium lines when compared with lines of other ions formed at similar temperatures. From that starting point, I will give a historical overview of an apparently marginal riddle in Solar Physics, a riddle nonetheless that has intrigued many in the course of several decades, inspiring some interesting ideas on the structure and dynamics of the solar atmosphere.

Invited talk presented at the symposium From Atoms to Stars:the impact of Spectroscopy on Astrophysics, 26th-28th July 2011, Oxford, UK.

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