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Quiet-time \(0.04\,\mbox{--}\,2\mbox{ MeV}/\mbox{nucleon}\) Ions at 1 AU in Solar Cycles 23 and 24

Abstract

The fluxes of 3He, 4He, C, O, and Fe ions at low energies (about \(0.04\,\mbox{--} \,2~\mbox{MeV}/\mbox{nucleon}\)) are studied during quiet periods in Solar Cycles (SC) 23 and 24 using data from the ULEIS/ACE instrument. In selecting quiet periods (the definition is given in Section 2.1), additional data from EPHIN/SOHO and EPAM/ACE were also used. The analysis of the ion energy spectra and their relative abundances shows that their behavior is governed by their first-ionization potential. Substantial differences in the ion energy spectra in two consecutive solar cycles are observed during the quiet periods selected. Quiet-time fluxes are divided into three distinct types according to the \({\sim}\,80\,\mbox{--}\,320~\mbox{keV}/\mbox{nucleon}\) Fe/O ratio. Our results confirm the earlier observation that these types of suprathermal particles have different origins, that is, they represent different seed populations that are accelerated by different processes. Except for the solar activity minimum, the Fe/O ratio during quiet-time periods correspond either to the abundances of ions in particle fluxes accelerated in impulsive solar flares or to the mean abundances of elements in the solar corona. At the activity minimum, this ratio takes on values that are characteristic for the solar wind. These results indicate that the background fluxes of low-energy particles in the ascending, maximum, and decay phases of the solar cycle include significant contributions from both coronal particles accelerated to suprathermal energies and ions accelerated in small impulsive solar flares rich in Fe, while the contribution of remnants from earlier SEP events cannot be excluded. The comparison of suprathermal ion abundances during the first five years of SC 23 and SC 24 suggests that the quiet-time and non-quiet fluxes of Fe and 3He were lower in SC 24.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the referee for many useful suggestions. Charged-particle flux data obtained with the ULEIS instrument on board the ACE spacecraft, the EPACT/STEP instrument on board the Wind spacecraft, and the EPHIN instrument on board the SOHO spacecraft were downloaded from the following sites: http://www.srl.caltech.edu/ACE/ASC/level2/lvl2DATA_ULEIS.html , http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/istp/wind/ and http://www2.physik.uni-kiel.de/SOHO/phpeph/EPHIN.html .

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Zeldovich, M.A., Logachev, Y.I. & Kecskeméty, K. Quiet-time \(0.04\,\mbox{--}\,2\mbox{ MeV}/\mbox{nucleon}\) Ions at 1 AU in Solar Cycles 23 and 24. Sol Phys 293, 3 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11207-017-1170-8

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Keywords

  • Solar activity
  • Ion abundances
  • Particle emission
  • Solar wind