2,542 research outputs found

    A novel technique to infer ionic charge states of solar energetic particles

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    In some large solar energetic particle (SEP) events, the intensities of higher energy SEPs decay more rapidly than at lower energies. This energy dependence varies with particle species, as would be expected if the decay timescale depended on a rigidity-dependent diffusion mean free path. By comparing the decay timescales of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, neon, magnesium, silicon, sulfur, and iron, mean charge states are inferred for these (and other) elements in three SEP events between 1997 and 2002 at energies between 10 and 200 MeV nucleon−1. In a fourth event, upper limits for the charge states are inferred. The charge states of many different particle species are all consistent with a single source temperature; in two events in 1997 and 2002, the best-fit temperature is much higher than that of the corona, which could imply a contribution from solar flare material. However, comparison with lower energy iron charge states for the 1997 event implies that the observed high-energy charge state could also be understood as the result of stripping during shock acceleration in the corona

    Evolution of suprathermal seed particle and solar energetic particle abundances

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    We report on a survey of the composition of solar-wind suprathermal tails and solar energetic particles (SEPs) including data from 1998 to 2010, with a focus on 2007 to 2010. The start of solar cycle 24 included several SEP events that were unusually He-poor. We conclude that these He-poor events are more likely related to Q/M-dependent spectral variations than to seed-particle composition changes. We also find that the quiet-time suprathermal Fe/O ratio during the 2008-2009 solar-minimum was dramatically lower (Fe/O ≤ 0.01) than earlier due in part to very low solar activity, but also suggesting contributions from an oxygen-rich source of suprathermal ions of unknown origin

    Heavy-ion Fractionation in the Impulsive Solar Energetic Particle Event of 2002 August 20: Elements, Isotopes, and Inferred Charge States

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    Measurements of heavy-ion elemental and isotopic composition in the energy range ~12-60 MeV nucleon^(–1) are reported from the Advanced Composition Explorer/Solar Isotope Spectrometer (ACE/SIS) instrument for the solar energetic particle (SEP) event of 2002 August 20. We investigate fractionation in this particularly intense impulsive event by examining the enhancements of elemental and isotopic abundance ratios relative to corresponding values in the solar wind. The elemental enhancement pattern is similar to those in other impulsive events detected by ACE/SIS and in compilations of average impulsive-event composition. For individual elements, the abundance of a heavy isotope (mass M_2) is enhanced relative to that of a lighter isotope (M_1) by a factor ~(M_(1)/M_2)^α with α ≃ 15. Previous studies have reported elemental abundance enhancements organized as a power law in Q/M, the ratio of estimated ionic charge to mass in the material being fractionated. We consider the possibility that a fractionation law of this form could be responsible for the isotopic fractionation as a power law in the mass ratio and then explore the implications it would have for the ionic charge states in the source material. Assuming that carbon is fully stripped (Q_C = 6), we infer mean values of the ionic charge during the fractionation process, Q_Z , for a variety of elements with atomic numbers 7 ≤ Z ≤ 28. We find that Q_(Fe) ≃ 21-22, comparable to the highest observed values that have been reported at lower energies in impulsive SEP events from direct measurements near 1 AU. The inferred charge states as a function of Z are characterized by several step increases in the number of attached electrons, Z – Q_Z . We discuss how this step structure, together with the known masses of the elements, might account for a variety of features in the observed pattern of elemental abundance enhancements. We also briefly consider alternative fractionation laws and the relationship between the charge states we infer in the source material and those derived from in situ observations

    Elemental and isotopic fractionation in 3He-rich solar energetic particle events

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    Using data from the Solar Isotope Spectrometer (SIS) on the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) mission, heavy ion composition measurements have been made in 26^3He-rich solar energetic particle (SEP) events that occurred between 1998 and 2004. Relative abundances of 13 elements from C through Ni have been investigated, as have the isotopic compositions of the elements Ne and Mg. We find a general tendency for the abundances to follow trends similar to those found in gradual SEP events, in which fractionation can be represented in the form of a power-law in Q/M. However several deviations from this pattern are noted that may provide useful diagnostics of the acceleration process occurring in solar flares

    Radiation risks from large solar energetic particle events

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    Solar energetic particles (SEPs) constitute a radiation hazard to both humans and hardware in space. Over the past few years there have been significant advances in our knowledge of the composition and energy spectra of SEP events, leading to new insights into the conditions that contribute to the largest events. This paper summarizes the energy spectra and frequency of large SEP events, and discusses the interplanetary conditions that affect the intensity of the largest events

    Werdingite from the Urungwe District, Zimbabwe

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    Electron and ion microprobe data on two samples of welshite from the type locality of Langban, Sweden, gave analytical totals of 99.38-99.57 wt.% and BeO contents of 4.82-5.11 wt.%, corresponding to 1.692-1.773 Be/20 O. Mossbauer and optical spectra of o

    Drift induced perpendicular transport of solar energetic particles

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    Drifts are known to play a role in galactic cosmic ray transport within the heliosphere and are a standard component of cosmic ray propagation models. However, the current paradigm of solar energetic particle (SEP) propagation holds the effects of drifts to be negligible, and they are not accounted for in most current SEP modeling efforts. We present full-orbit test particle simulations of SEP propagation in a Parker spiral interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), which demonstrate that high-energy particle drifts cause significant asymmetric propagation perpendicular to the IMF. Thus in many cases the assumption of field-aligned propagation of SEPs may not be valid. We show that SEP drifts have dependencies on energy, heliographic latitude, and charge-to-mass ratio that are capable of transporting energetic particles perpendicular to the field over significant distances within interplanetary space, e.g., protons of initial energy 100 MeV propagate distances across the field on the order of 1 AU, over timescales typical of a gradual SEP event. Our results demonstrate the need for current models of SEP events to include the effects of particle drift. We show that the drift is considerably stronger for heavy ion SEPs due to their larger mass-to-charge ratio. This paradigm shift has important consequences for the modeling of SEP events and is crucial to the understanding and interpretation of in situ observations. © 2013. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

    The Solar Energetic Particle Event of 6 May 1998

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    The abundances of elements from helium to iron have been measured in more than a dozen moderate to large solar energetic particle (SEP) events using the Solar Isotope Spectrometer (SIS) on-board the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE). Time variations within some of these events and from event to event have been reported previously. This paper presents an analysis of the event of 6 May 1998, for which relatively time-independent abundance ratios are found. This event has been considered to be an example of an impulsive event, a gradual event, and as a hybrid of the two. Difficulties with classifying this event are discussed
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