Modelling Solar Energetic Particle transport near a wavy Heliospheric Current Sheet

Battarbee, Markus orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7055-551X, Dalla, Silvia orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7837-5780 and Marsh, Mike S (2018) Modelling Solar Energetic Particle transport near a wavy Heliospheric Current Sheet. Astrophysical Journal, 854 (1). ISSN 0004-637X

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Understanding the transport of Solar Energetic Particles (SEPs) from acceleration sites at the Sun into interplanetary space and to the Earth is an important question for forecasting space weather. The Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF), with two distinct polarities and a complex structure, governs energetic particle transport and drifts.
We analyse for the first time the effect of a wavy Heliospheric Current Sheet (HCS) on the propagation of SEPs. We inject protons close to the Sun and propagate them by integrating fully 3D trajectories within the inner heliosphere in the presence of weak scattering. We model the HCS position using fits based on neutral lines of magnetic field source surface maps (SSMs).
We map 1 au proton crossings, which show efficient transport in longitude via HCS, depending on the location of the injection region with respect to the HCS. For HCS tilt angles around 30∘−40∘, we find significant qualitative differences between A+ and A− configurations of the IMF, with stronger fluences along the HCS in the former case but with a distribution of particles across a wider range of longitudes and latitudes in the latter.
We show how a wavy current sheet leads to longitudinally periodic enhancements in particle fluence. We show that for an A+ IMF configuration, a wavy HCS allows for more proton deceleration than a flat HCS. We find that A− IMF configurations result in larger average fluences than A+ IMF configurations, due to a radial drift component at the current sheet.

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