Drift induced perpendicular transport of solar energetic particles

Marsh, Michael, Dalla, Silvia orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7837-5780, Kelly, J. and Laitinen, Timo Lauri Mikael orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7719-7783 (2013) Drift induced perpendicular transport of solar energetic particles. The Astrophysical Journal, 774 (1). p. 4. ISSN 0004-637X

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/774/1/4


Drifts are known to play a role in galactic cosmic ray transport within the heliosphere and are a standard component of cosmic ray propagation models. However, the current paradigm of solar energetic particle (SEP) propagation holds the effects of drifts to be negligible, and they are not accounted for in most current SEP modeling efforts. We present full-orbit test particle simulations of SEP propagation in a Parker spiral interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), which demonstrate that high-energy particle drifts cause significant asymmetric propagation perpendicular to the IMF. Thus in many cases the assumption of field-aligned propagation of SEPs may not be valid. We show that SEP drifts have dependencies on energy, heliographic latitude, and charge-to-mass ratio that are capable of transporting energetic particles perpendicular to the field over significant distances within interplanetary space, e.g., protons of initial energy 100 MeV propagate distances across the field on the order of 1 AU, over timescales typical of a gradual SEP event. Our results demonstrate the need for current models of SEP events to include the effects of particle drift. We show that the drift is considerably stronger for heavy ion SEPs due to their larger mass-to-charge ratio. This paradigm shift has important consequences for the modeling of SEP events and is crucial to the understanding and interpretation of in situ observations. © 2013. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..

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