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Published September 20, 2014 | Published
Journal Article Open

The Longitudinal Dependence of Heavy-ion Composition in the 2013 April 11 Solar Energetic Particle Event


On 2013 April 11 active region 11719 was centered just west of the central meridian; at 06:55 UT, it erupted with an M6.5 X-ray flare and a moderately fast (~800 km s^(–1)) coronal mass ejection. This solar activity resulted in the acceleration of energetic ions to produce a solar energetic particle (SEP) event that was subsequently observed in energetic protons by both ACE and the two STEREO spacecraft. Heavy ions at energies ≥10 MeV nucleon^(–1) were well measured by SEP sensors on ACE and STEREO-B, allowing the longitudinal dependence of the event composition to be studied. Both spacecraft observed significant enhancements in the Fe/O ratio at 12-33 MeV nucleon^(–1), with the STEREO-B abundance ratio (Fe/O = 0.69) being similar to that of the large, Fe-rich SEP events observed in solar cycle 23. The footpoint of the magnetic field line connected to the ACE spacecraft was longitudinally farther from the flare site (77° versus 58°), and the measured Fe/O ratio at ACE was 0.48, 44% lower than at STEREO-B but still enhanced by more than a factor of 3.5 over average SEP abundances. Only upper limits were obtained for the ^3He/^4He abundance ratio at both spacecraft. Low upper limits of 0.07% and 1% were obtained from the ACE sensors at 0.5-2 and 6.5-11.3 MeV nucleon^(–1), respectively, whereas the STEREO-B sensor provided an upper limit of 4%. These characteristics of high, but longitudinally variable, Fe/O ratios and low ^3He/^4He ratios are not expected from either the direct flare contribution scenario or the remnant flare suprathermal material theory put forth to explain the Fe-rich SEP events of cycle 23.

Additional Information

© 2014 American Astronomical Society. Received 2014 February 27; accepted 2014 July 16; published 2014 September 3. This work was supported by NASA at Caltech and JPL under subcontract SA2715-26309 from UC Berkeley under NASA contract NAS5-03131T, and by NASA grants NNX11A075G and NNX13AH66G. It was also supported by the NSF under the grant 1156004. Work at APL was supported by NASA grants NNX13AR20G and 44A-1091698, as well as NSF SHINE grant 1156138 and UC Berkeley subcontract SA4889-26309. We thank the NASA CDAW Data Center and the Catholic University of America and ESA's CACTus project for their CME catalogs. We also thank the Michigan State University National Superconducting Cyclotron Lab for accelerator time and staff assistance in calibrating the response of the ACE/SIS and STEREO/LET sensors to energetic ions and in testing the related onboard analysis processes.

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