Comparing Long-Duration Gamma-Ray Flares and High-Energy Solar Energetic Particles

de Nolfo,, G.A., Bruno, A., Ryan, J.M., Dalla, Silvia orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7837-5780 and et al, et al (2019) Comparing Long-Duration Gamma-Ray Flares and High-Energy Solar Energetic Particles. The Astrophysical Journal, 879 (2). p. 90. ISSN 0004-637X

[thumbnail of Version of Record]
PDF (Version of Record) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


Official URL:


Little is known about the origin of the high-energy and sustained emission from solar Long-Duration Gamma-Ray Flares (LDGRFs), identified with the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO), the Solar Maximum Mission (SMM), and now Fermi. Though Fermi/Large Area Space Telescope (LAT) has identified dozens of flares with LDGRF signature, the nature of this phenomenon has been a challenge to explain both due to the extreme energies and long durations. The highest-energy emission has generally been attributed to pion production from the interaction of >300 MeV protons with the ambient matter. The extended duration suggests that particle acceleration occurs over large volumes extending high in the corona, either from stochastic acceleration within large coronal loops or from back precipitation from coronal mass ejection driven shocks. It is possible to test these models by making direct comparison between the properties of the accelerated ion population producing the gamma-ray emission derived from the Fermi/LAT observations, and the characteristics of solar energetic particles (SEPs) measured by the Payload for Matter-Antimatter Exploration and Light Nuclei Astrophysics (PAMELA) spacecraft in the energy range corresponding to the pion-related emission detected with Fermi. For fourteen of these events we compare the two populations -- SEPs in space and the interacting particles at the Sun -- and discuss the implications in terms of potential sources. Our analysis shows that the two proton numbers are poorly correlated, with their ratio spanning more than five orders of magnitude, suggesting that the back precipitation of shock-acceleration particles is unlikely the source of the LDGRF emission.

Repository Staff Only: item control page