Heliospheric Lessons for Galactic Cosmic-ray Acceleration
Author: Mason, G.M.
Source: Space Science Reviews, Volume 99, Numbers 1-4, October 2001 , pp. 119-133(15)
Abstract:The heliosphere is bathed in the supersonic solar wind, which generally creates shocks at any obstacles it encounters: magnetic structures such as coronal mass ejections and planetary magnetospheres, or fast-slow stream interactions such as corotating interaction regions (CIRs) or the termination shock. Each of these shock structures has an associated energetic particle population whose spectra and composition contain clues to the acceleration process and the sources of the particles. Over the past several years, the solar wind composition has been systematically studied, and the long-standing gap between high energy (>1 MeV amu^−1) and the plasma ion populations has been closed by instruments capable of measuring the suprathermal ion composition. In CIRs, where it has been possible to observe all the relevant populations, it turns out that the suprathermal ion population near 1.8–2.5 times the solar wind speed is the seed population that gets accelerated, not the bulk particles near the solar wind peak. These new results are of interest to the problem of Galactic Cosmic-Ray (GCR) Acceleration, since the injection and acceleration of GCRs to modest energies is likely to share many features with processes we can observe in detail in the heliosphere.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: Department of Physics and I.P.S.T., University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, U.S.A.
Publication date: October 2001