The Effect of the Fluctuating Interplanetary Magnetic Field on the Cosmic Ray Intensity Profile of the Ground-level Enhancement (GLE) Events

Ashraf Moradi, Joe Giacalone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We numerically integrate the equations of motion of a large number of GeV protons, released impulsively near the Sun, in order to study their time-intensity behavior at the location of an observer at 1 au. This is relevant to the interpretation of Ground Level Enhancements (GLEs) detected by neutron monitors on Earth. Generally, the observed time-intensity profiles reveal a single sharp rise, followed by slow decay. However, in the 1989 October 22 GLE event, there was an initial sharp spike followed by a secondary smaller spike in the particle intensity. We consider whether the propagation of the high-energy protons in a large-scale turbulent interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) can lead to this unusual time-intensity profile. The IMF model includes large-scale magnetic turbulence and a heliospheric current sheet. Ad-hoc scattering is used to mimic the effect of smaller-scale fluctuations resulting in pitch-angle scattering. Proton fluxes as a function of time and location for an observer are determined for various turbulence parameters, IMF polarities, and the size of the particle source near the Sun. We find that the fluctuating IMF leads to considerable variation in the arrival location of the particles crossing 1 au, and the time-intensity profile depends significantly on the observer's location and can have multiple peaks. An alternate explanation for the unusual structure in the 1989 October 22 GLE event is provided. Our findings show that the large-scale turbulent IMF enhances the access of the high-energy protons to the HCS at the early time of the event, which leads to efficient cross-field transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number73
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume932
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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