Anomalous cosmic rays are a heliospheric phenomenon in which interstellar neutral atoms stream into the heliosphere, are ionized by either solar radiation or the solar wind, and are subsequently accelerated to very high energies, greater than 1 GeV. Current thinking has the bulk of the acceleration to very-high energies taking place, by the mechanism of diffusive shock acceleration, at the termination shock of the solar wind. Detailed two-dimensional numerical simulations and models based on this picture show broad agreement with a number of the observed properties of anomalous cosmic rays. Recent improvements to this picture include the observation of multiply charged cosmic rays and the suggestion that some "preacceleration" of the initially ionized particles occurs in the inner heliosphere.
- Cosmic rays solar wind acceleration
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science