Space Science Reviews

, Volume 130, Issue 1, pp 389–399

Composition of Anomalous Cosmic Rays


DOI: 10.1007/s11214-007-9161-y

Cite this article as:
Cummings, A.C. & Stone, E.C. Space Sci Rev (2007) 130: 389. doi:10.1007/s11214-007-9161-y


The “classic” anomalous cosmic ray (ACR) component originates as interstellar neutral atoms that drift into the heliosphere, become ionized and picked up by the solar wind, and carried to the outer heliosphere where the pickup ions are accelerated to hundreds of MeV, presumably at the solar wind termination shock. These interstellar ACRs are predominantly singly charged, although higher charge states are present and become dominant above ∼350 MeV. Their isotopic composition is like that of the solar system and unlike that of the source of galactic cosmic rays. A comparison of their energy spectra with the estimated flux of pickup ions flowing into the termination shock reveals a mass-dependent acceleration efficiency that favors heavier ions. There is also a heliospheric ACR component as evidenced by “minor” ACR ions, such as Na, Mg, S, and Si that appear to be singly-ionized ions from a source likely in the outer heliosphere.


Anomalous cosmic raysCompositionLocal interstellar mediumSolar wind termination shockHeliosphereACESAMPEXVoyager

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Space Radiation LaboratoryCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA