Ion Anisotropy and High-Energy Variability of Large Solar Particle Events: A Comparative Study

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Citation of Original Publication

Tan, Lun C.; Reames, Donald V.; Ng, Chee K.; Ion Anisotropy and High-Energy Variability of Large Solar Particle Events: A Comparative Study; The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 678, Number 2, 9 January, 2008;


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We have made comparative studies of ion anisotropy and high-energy variability of solar energetic particle (SEP) events previously examined by the Solar, Heliospheric, and Interplanetary Environment (SHINE) Workshop campaign. We have found distinctly different characteristics of SEPs in two large "gradual" events having very similar solar progenitors (the 2002 April 21 and August 24 events). Since the scattering centers of SEPs are approximately frozen in the solar wind, we emphasize work in the solar-wind frame, where SEPs tend to be isotropized and small anisotropies are easier to detect. While in the August event no streaming reversal occurred, in the April event the field-aligned anisotropy of all heavy ions showed signs of streaming reversal. The difference in streaming reversal was consistent with the difference in the presence of the outer reflecting boundary. In the April event the magnetic mirror, which was located behind the interplanetary shock driven by the preceding coronal mass ejection (CME), could block the stream of SEPs, while in the August event SEPs escaped freely in the absence of any nearby boundary. The magnetic mirror was formed at the bottleneck of magnetic field lines draped around a flank of the preceding CME. In previous SHINE event analysis, the contrasting event durations and Fe/O ratios of the both events were explained as the interplay between shock geometry and seed population. Our new findings, however, indicate that event duration and time, as well as spectral variation, are also affected by the presence of a nearby reflecting boundary.