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

From the Sun’s south to the north pole – Ulysses COSPIN/LET composition measurements at solar maximum

M. Y. Hofer, R. G. Marsden, T. R. Sanderson, and C. Tranquille

Abstract. Based on elemental abundance ratios derived from the Ulysses COSPIN/LET measurements, we classified the energetic particle populations during and after the socalled Fast Latitude Scan – the time period during which the Ulysses spacecraft traveled from the highest heliolatitude south to maximum northern latitude, i.e. 27 November 2000 to 13 October 2001 – as being mixed between solar energetic particles (major component) and particles accelerated at stream interaction regions. During the fast latitude scan, the Ulysses spacecraft made the first transit in heliolatitude from pole to pole during solar activity maximum conditions, providing a unique opportunity to acquire energetic particle composition data over a maximum range of heliolatitudes in the inner heliosphere. At low latitudes, based on our elemental abundance analysis, we found that while solar energetic particles dominated, there were indications for particle acceleration at single compression regions in a few instances. In the high heliolatitude range the observed elemental particle compositions are mainly of the solar energetic particle type. Within the statistical errors, the observed abundance ratios were independent of latitude, and were characteristic of solar energetic particles. These observations raise an important question for the theories of particle propagation in the inner heliosphere. The daily elemental abundance ratios of S/O, Mg/O and Si/O shown here are the first measured ratios at high heliolatitudes in the energy range from 13.0 to 30.0 MeV/n.

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

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