Energetic particle acceleration and transport at coronal mass ejection-driven shocks

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Evidence now exists which suggests that in large solar energetic particle (SEP) events, particles are often accelerated to ˜ MeV energies (and perhaps up to GeV energies) at shock waves driven by coronal mass ejections (CMEs). These energetic particles are of considerable importance to space weather studies since they serve as a precursor signal for possible disruptive events at the Earth. As a CME-driven shock propagates, expands and weakens, particles accelerated diffusively at the shock can escape upstream and downstream into the interplanetary medium. The escaping energized particles propagate along the interplanetary magnetic field, experiencing only weak scattering from fluctuations in the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). In this work, we study the time-dependent transport of energetic particles accelerated at a propagating shock using a Monte-Carlo approach. This treatment, together with our previous work on particle acceleration at shocks, allows us to investigate the characteristics (intensity profiles, angular distribution, particle anisotropies) of high-energy particles arriving at various distances from the sun. Such an approach is both easy to implement and allows us to study the affect of interplanetary turbulence on particle transport in a systematic manner. These theoretical models form an excellent basis on which to interpret observations of high-energy particles made in situ at 1 AU by spacecraft such as ACE and WIND.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1082
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2003


  • Solar Physics
  • Astrophysics
  • and Astronomy: Coronal mass ejections
  • Ionosphere: Particle acceleration
  • Interplanetary Physics: Energetic particles
  • solar
  • Interplanetary Physics: Interplanetary shocks
  • CME-driven shocks
  • particle acceleration
  • particle transport
  • shock acceleration
  • solar energetic particles


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