Solar Longitude Distribution of High-energy Proton Flares : Fluences and Spectra
Summary, in English
The distribution of the longitudes of solar flares associated with the high-energy proton events called ground level events (GLEs) can be approximated by a Gaussian with a peak at ∼W60, with a full range from ∼E90 to ∼W150. The longitudes of flares associated with the top third (24 of 72) of GLEs in terms of their >430 MeV fluences (F 430) are primarily distributed over E20-W100 with a skew toward disk center. This 120 span in longitude is comparable to the latitudinal spans of powerful coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from limb flares. Only 5 of 24 strong GLEs are located within the W40-80 zone of good magnetic connection to Earth. GLEs with hard spectra, i.e., a spectral index SI30/200(= log(F 30/F 200)) < 1.5, also tend to avoid W40-80 source regions. Three-fourths of such events (16 of 21) arise in flares outside this range. The above tendencies favor a CME-driven shock source over a flare-resident acceleration process for high-energy solar protons. GLE spectra show a trend, with broad scatter, from hard spectra for events originating in eruptive flares beyond the west limb to soft spectra for GLEs with sources near central meridian. This behavior can be explained in terms of: (1) dominant near-Sun quasi-perpendicular shock acceleration of protons for far western (>W100) GLEs; (2) quasi-parallel shock acceleration for well-connected (W40-80) GLEs, and (3) proton acceleration/trapping at CME-driven bow shocks from central meridian (E20-W20) that strike the Earth.
- Quaternary Sciences
Astrophysical Journal Letters
- Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
- ISSN: 2041-8205