Acceleration and transport of energetic particles at CME-driven shocks

G. Li, G. P. Zank, W. K. M. Rice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Historically, solar energetic particle (SEP) events are classified in two classes as "impulsive" and "gradual". Whether there is a clear distinction between the two classes is still a matter of debate, but it is now commonly accepted that in large "gradual" SEP events, Fermi acceleration, also known as diffusive shock acceleration, is the underlying acceleration mechanism. At shock waves driven by coronal mass ejections (CMEs), particles are accelerated diffusively at the shock and often reach > MeV energies (and perhaps up to GeV energies). As a CME-driven shock propagates, expands and weakens, the accelerated particles can escape ahead of the shock into the interplanetary medium. These escaping energized particles then propagate along the interplanetary magnetic field, experiencing only weak scattering from fluctuations in the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). In this paper, we use a Monte-Carlo approach to study the transport of energetic particles escaping from a CME-driven shock. We present particle spectra observed at 1 AU. We also discuss the particle "crossing number" at 1AU and its implication to particle anisotropy. Based on previous models of particle acceleration at CME-driven shocks, our simulation allows us to investigate various characteristics of energetic particles arriving at various distances from the sun. This provides us an excellent basis for understanding the observations of high-energy particles made at 1 AU by ACE and WIND.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2597-2602
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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