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Published June 10, 2002 | Published
Journal Article Open

Interacting Coronal Mass Ejections And Solar Energetic Particles


We studied the association between solar energetic particle (SEP) events and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and found that CME interaction is an important aspect of SEP production. Each SEP event was associated with a primary CME that is faster and wider than average CMEs and originated from west of E45°. For most of the SEP events, the primary CME overtakes one or more slower CMEs within a heliocentric distance of ∼20 R⊙. In an inverse study, we found that for all the fast (speed greater than 900 km s^(-1)) and wide (width greater than 60°) western hemispheric frontside CMEs during the study period, the SEP-associated CMEs were ∼4 times more likely to be preceded by CME interaction than the SEP-poor CMEs; i.e., CME interaction is a good discriminator between SEP-poor and SEP-associated CMEs. We infer that the efficiency of the CME-driven shocks is enhanced as they propagate through the preceding CMEs and that they accelerate SEPs from the material of the preceding CMEs rather than from the quiet solar wind. We also found a high degree of association between major SEP events and interplanetary type II radio bursts, suggesting that proton accelerators are also good electron accelerators.

Additional Information

© 2002 American Astronomical Society. Received 2002 February 3; accepted 2002 May 7; published 2002 May 16. This research was supported by AFOSR and NASA's SR&T, ISTP, and LWS programs. We thank the referee for many helpful comments. SOHO is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.

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