EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 507, Number 1, November III 2009
Page(s) 469 - 480
Section The Sun
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912514
Published online 03 September 2009
A&A 507, 469-480 (2009)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200912514

On the timescale and location of 3He acceleration

G. M. Simnett

School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK
    e-mail: jennysimnett@btinternet.com

Received 18 May 2009 / Accepted 1 September 2009

We present a novel explanation for the 3He-rich solar energetic particle events. We suggest that at low latitudes the coronal magnetic field is largely closed out to several solar radii. Quasi-continuous magnetic reconnection provides conditions suitable for resonant acceleration of 3He which essentially accelerates all the ambient ions up to energies around 1 MeV/nucleon, which are largely trapped in the closed field. Electrons are also accelerated together with a relatively small number of ions which also satisfy the resonance condition. Ultra-heavy ions may also be accelerated, although details of how this is achieved are not known at this time. Reconnection in the outer region of the closed magnetic field injects the trapped particles from time to time into the interplanetary medium as impulsive events, while leakage provides a dribble of ions into the interplanetary medium, to provide the quiet time background. The trapped ions may also be seed particles for acceleration in a chromospheric flare. The flare acceleration does not preferentially accelerate 3He nor ultra-heavy ions.

Key words: Sun: corona -- Sun: particle emission -- Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs)

© ESO 2009