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Space Science Reviews

, Volume 73, Issue 3–4, pp 327–385 | Cite as

Relativistic solar proton events

  • P. H. Stoker
Article

Abstract

Energetic solar flare particles contain rich information concerning mechanisms of particle acceleration on the Sun and subsequent transport through turbulent interplanetary space. Even the most energetic particles, in particular protons with kinetic energy above ∼500 MeV, may undergo coronal and interplanetary propagation effects, disturbing their accelerated injection spectrum after release from the solar flare. Relativistic solar proton events are recorded by neutron monitors at ground level. A detailed knowledge of the response of these ground-based detectors to the impact by a beam of protons on the top of the atmosphere is required to analyze these observations. The spectral index of arriving protons can be obtained from the response of the world-wide network of neutron monitors provided their directional anisotropy is known. The spectral index may also by determined from the relative enhancements in count rates of two similar detectors at different altitudes but similar asymptotic cones of acceptances, or from the relative enhancements of two detectors with different spectral sensitivities but at the same location of high latitude. Ground level enhancements from solar flare protons have been recorded at Sanae, Antarctica, since 1971 by two neutron monitors with different sensitivities to primary protons in the rigidity range from ≲1 GV to ∼5 GV. Spectral indexes of about 20 of these more energetic solar flare proton events have been determined from the two detector enhancements recorded at Sanae. These indexes do not show any increase (softening of the relativistic proton spectra) with increasing heliolongitude away from the preferred IMF connection region as was obtained for 20–80 MeV protons. Furthermore, most of the enhanced count rates show fluctuations larger than statistical, indicative of propagation in a mostly turbulent interplanetary magnetic field.

Keywords

Spectral Index Solar Flare Interplanetary Magnetic Field Neutron Monitor Relative Enhancement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. H. Stoker
    • 1
  1. 1.Space Research Unit, Department of PhysicsPotchefstroom University for CHEPotchefstroomSouth Africa

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