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Published September 1, 2019 | Published
Journal Article Open

Galactic Cosmic Rays Modulation in the Vicinity of Corotating Interaction Regions: Observations During the Last Two Solar Minima


Corotating interaction regions (CIRs) are responsible for short-term recurrent cosmic-ray modulation, prominent near solar minima. Using the OMNI data sets for two periods of low solar activity near the beginning and end of solar cycle 24, superposed epoch analysis was performed on the solar wind plasma features for 53 and 43 events during periods 2007–2008 and 2017–2018, respectively. Turbulent properties of the solar wind were studied using the variance method for each CIR. Power spectra have been constructed for overlapped subintervals in the vicinity of stream interfaces (SIs). Using measured correlation lengths and turbulent energies, parallel and perpendicular diffusion mean free paths for cosmic-ray ions have been inferred based on two distinct theoretical formulations. For the two periods with opposite solar polarities, our results show that unlike solar wind speed, magnetic field strength, flow pressure, and proton density are relatively higher during the latest period. Increased turbulent energy and reduced parallel transport coefficients of energetic particles at the SIs are observed. The diffusion coefficients follow the same trends during both periods. The perpendicular diffusion starts increasing nearly a day before SIs and is higher in the fast wind. Superposed epoch analysis is performed on the >120 MeV proton count rate obtained from the CRIS instrument on board the ACE spacecraft for the same events. The recorded proton rates have peaks half a day before a SI and reach their minimum more than a day after a SI and have a high anticorrelation with the perpendicular diffusion coefficient.

Additional Information

© 2019. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2019 June 16; revised 2019 July 10; accepted 2019 July 10; published 2019 September 2. This research was supported by NASA grant NNX17AB85G. The authors appreciate being granted access to the OMNI data obtained through the GSFC/SPDF OMNIWeb interface at (http://omniweb.gsfc.nasa.gov).

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