, Volume 90, Issue 3-4, pp 413-491

Particle acceleration at the Sun and in the heliosphere

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Abstract

Energetic particles are accelerated in rich profusion at sites throughout the heliosphere. They come from solar flares in the low corona, from shock waves driven outward by coronal mass ejections (CMEs), from planetary magnetospheres and bow shocks. They come from corotating interaction regions (CIRs) produced by high-speed streams in the solar wind, and from the heliospheric termination shock at the outer edge of the heliospheric cavity. We sample many populations near Earth, but can distinguish them readily by their element and isotope abundances, ionization states, energy spectra, angular distributions and time behavior. Remote spacecraft have probed the spatial distributions of the particles and examined new sources in situ. Most acceleration sources can be ‘seen’ only by direct observation of the particles; few photons are produced at these sites. Wave-particle interactions are an essential feature in acceleration sources and, for shock acceleration, new evidence of energetic-proton-generated waves has come from abundance variations and from local cross-field scattering. Element abundances often tell us the physics of the source plasma itself, prior to acceleration. By comparing different populations, we learn more about the sources, and about the physics of acceleration and transport, than we can possibly learn from one source alone.

This revised version was published online in August 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.