Articles | Volume 21, issue 6
Special issue:
30 Jun 2003
 | 30 Jun 2003

The Ulysses fast latitude scans: COSPIN/KET results

B. Heber, G. Sarri, G. Wibberenz, C. Paizis, P. Ferrando, A. Raviart, A. Posner, R. Müller-Mellin, and H. Kunow

Abstract. Ulysses, launched in October 1990, began its second out-of-ecliptic orbit in December 1997, and its second fast latitude scan in September 2000. In contrast to the first fast latitude scan in 1994/1995, during the second fast latitude scan solar activity was close to maximum. The solar magnetic field reversed its polarity around July 2000. While the first latitude scan mainly gave a snapshot of the spatial distribution of galactic cosmic rays, the second one is dominated by temporal variations. Solar particle increases are observed at all heliographic latitudes, including events that produce >250 MeV protons and 50 MeV electrons. Using observations from the University of Chicago’s instrument on board IMP8 at Earth, we find that most solar particle events are observed at both high and low latitudes, indicating either acceleration of these particles over a broad latitude range or an efficient latitudinal transport. The latter is supported by "quiet time" variations in the MeV electron background, if interpreted as Jovian electrons. No latitudinal gradient was found for >106 MeV galactic cosmic ray protons, during the solar maximum fast latitude scan. The electron to proton ratio remains constant and has practically the same value as in the previous solar maximum. Both results indicate that drift is of minor importance. It was expected that, with the reversal of the solar magnetic field and in the declining phase of the solar cycle, this ratio should increase. This was, however, not observed, probably because the transition to the new magnetic cycle was not completely terminated within the heliosphere, as indicated by the Ulysses magnetic field and solar wind measurements. We argue that the new A<0-solar magnetic modulation epoch will establish itself once both polar coronal holes have developed.

Key words. Interplanetary physics (cosmic rays; energetic particles; interplanetary magnetic fields)