Articles | Volume 21, issue 6
Ann. Geophys., 21, 1217–1228, 2003

Special issue: Ulysses and Beyond

Ann. Geophys., 21, 1217–1228, 2003

  30 Jun 2003

30 Jun 2003

Ulysses COSPIN observations of cosmic rays and solar energetic particles from the South Pole to the North Pole of the Sun during solar maximum

R. B. McKibben1, J. J. Connell1, C. Lopate1, M. Zhang2, J. D. Anglin3, A. Balogh4, S. Dalla4, T. R. Sanderson5, R. G. Marsden5, M. Y. Hofer5, H. Kunow6, A. Posner6, and B. Heber7 R. B. McKibben et al.
  • 1Space Science Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, 03824, USA
  • 2Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL, USA
  • 3National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
  • 4Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, UK
  • 5Research and Scientific Support Department of ESA, ESTEC, 2201 AZ Noordwijk, The Netherlands
  • 6Kiel University, Kiel, Germany
  • 7University of Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany

Abstract. In 2000–2001 Ulysses passed from the south to the north polar regions of the Sun in the inner heliosphere, providing a snapshot of the latitudinal structure of cosmic ray modulation and solar energetic particle populations during a period near solar maximum.  Observations from the COSPIN suite of energetic charged particle telescopes show that latitude variations in the cosmic ray intensity in the inner heliosphere are nearly non-existent near solar maximum, whereas small but clear latitude gradients were observed during the similar phase of Ulysses’ orbit near the 1994–95 solar minimum. At proton energies above ~10 MeV and extending up to >70 MeV, the intensities are often dominated by Solar Energetic Particles (SEPs) accelerated near the Sun in association with intense solar flares and large Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). At lower energies the particle intensities are almost constantly enhanced above background, most likely as a result of a mix of SEPs and particles accelerated by interplanetary shocks. Simultaneous high-latitude Ulysses and near-Earth observations show that most events that produce large flux increases near Earth also produce flux increases at Ulysses, even at the highest latitudes attained. Particle anisotropies during particle onsets at Ulysses are typically directed outwards from the Sun, suggesting either acceleration extending to high latitudes or efficient cross-field propagation somewhere inside the orbit of Ulysses. Both cosmic ray and SEP observations are consistent with highly efficient transport of energetic charged particles between the equatorial and polar regions and across the mean interplanetary magnetic fields in the inner heliosphere.

Key words. Interplanetary physics (cosmic rays) – Solar physics, astrophysics and astronomy (energetic particles; flares and mass ejections)