Cosmic-Ray Modulation in the Heliosphere A Phenomenological Study

Author: McDonald, F.B.

Source: Space Science Reviews, Volume 83, Numbers 1-2, January 1998 , pp. 33-50(18)

Publisher: Springer

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The heliospheric cosmic-ray network–Pioneer 10/11, Voyager 1/2, Ulysses and IMP 8 have provided detailed observations of galactic and anomalous cosmic rays over a period of time that now exceeds 25 years and extends to heliocentric distances beyond 65 AU. These data, when compared over consecutive 11 year solar cycles, clearly establishes the existence of a 22-year cosmic ray modulation cycle that is dominated by the 11-year solar activity cycle but is strongly influenced by gradient and curvature drifts in association with the tilt of the heliospheric neutral current sheet as well as the mediation of the enhanced magnetic turbulence above the solar poles. Over successive solar minima these effects manifest themselves in the remarkable differences in the energetic particle time histories, in the magnitude and sign of the radial and latitudinal intensity gradients and in the changes in the energy spectra of anomalous cosmic rays as a function of heliocentric distance.

From solar minimum to solar maximum the long term modulation is principally a combination of two solar related phenomena, the cumulative effect of long-lived global merged interaction regions (GMIRs) and gradient and curvature drifts in the interplanetary magnetic field. For the periods when positive ions flow in over the solar poles and out along the heliospheric current sheet, the modulation of ions is dominated by GMIRs. When this flow pattern is reversed it is found that drifts are an important but not dominant factor for cosmic ray modulation with the current sheet related drift effects decreasing with increasing rigidity R, heliolatitude and heliocentric distance. Over a single solar cycle these conclusions are confirmed at 1 AU by comparing the relative modulation of cosmic-ray helium nuclei and electrons.

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Institute for Physical Science and Technology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA

Publication date: January 1, 1998

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