Articles | Volume 23, issue 5
28 Jul 2005
 | 28 Jul 2005

Transforming in-situ observations of CME-driven shock accelerated protons into the shock's reference frame.

I. M. Robinson and G. M. Simnett

Abstract. We examine the solar energetic particle event following solar activity from 14, 15 April 2001 which includes a "bump-on-the-tail" in the proton energy spectra at 0.99 AU from the Sun. We find this population was generated by a CME-driven shock which arrived at 0.99 AU around midnight 18 April. As such this population represents an excellent opportunity to study in isolation, the effects of proton acceleration by the shock. The peak energy of the bump-on-the-tail evolves to progressively lower energies as the shock approaches the observing spacecraft at the inner Lagrange point. Focusing on the evolution of this peak energy we demonstrate a technique which transforms these in-situ spectral observations into a frame of reference co-moving with the shock whilst making allowance for the effects of pitch angle scattering and focusing. The results of this transform suggest the bump-on-the-tail population was not driven by the 15 April activity but was generated or at least modulated by a CME-driven shock which left the Sun on 14 April. The existence of a bump-on-the-tail population is predicted by models in Rice et al. (2003) and Li et al. (2003) which we compare with observations and the results of our analysis in the context of both the 14 April and 15 April CMEs. We find an origin of the bump-on-the-tail at the 14 April CME-driven shock provides better agreement with these modelled predictions although some discrepancy exists as to the shock's ability to accelerate 100 MeV protons.

Keywords. Solar physics, astrophysics and astronomy (Energetic particles; Flares and mass ejections) – Space plasma physics (Transport processes)