Injection of solar energetic particles into both loop legs of a magnetic cloud
1 Institut für Experimentelle und Angewandte Physik, University of Kiel, 24118 Kiel, Germany
2 Space Research Group, Dpto. de Física y Matemáticas, University of Alcalá, 28801 Madrid, Spain
3 Institute of Physics/Kanzelhöhe Observatory, University of Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria
Received: 11 September 2015
Accepted: 9 December 2015
Context. Each of the two Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft carries a Solar Electron and Proton Telescope (SEPT) which measures electrons and protons. Anisotropy observations are provided in four viewing directions: along the nominal magnetic field Parker spiral in the ecliptic towards the Sun (SUN) and away from the Sun (Anti-Sun/ASUN), and towards the north (NORTH) and south (SOUTH). The solar energetic particle (SEP) event on 7 November 2013 was observed by both STEREO spacecraft, which were longitudinally separated by 68° at that time. While STEREO A observed the expected characteristics of an SEP event at a well-connected position, STEREO B detected a very anisotropic bi-directional distribution of near-relativistic electrons and was situated inside a magnetic-cloud-like structure during the early phase of the event.
Aims. We examine the source of the bi-directional SEP distribution at STEREO B. On the one hand this distribution could be caused by a double injection into both loop legs of the magnetic cloud (MC). On the other hand, a mirroring scenario where the incident beam is reflected in the opposite loop leg could be the reason. Furthermore, the energetic electron observations are used to probe the magnetic structure inside the magnetic cloud.
Methods. We investigate in situ plasma and magnetic field observations and show that STEREO B was embedded in an MC-like structure ejected three days earlier on 4 November from the same active region. We apply a Graduated Cylindrical Shell (GCS) model to the coronagraph observations from three viewpoints as well as the Global Magnetic Cloud (GMC) model to the in situ measurements at STEREO B to determine the orientation and topology of the MC close to the Sun and at 1 AU. We also estimate the path lengths of the electrons propagating through the MC to estimate the amount of magnetic field line winding inside the structure.
Results. The relative intensity and timing of the energetic electron increases in the different SEPT telescopes at STEREO B strongly suggest that the bi-directional electron distribution is formed by SEP injections in both loop legs of the MC separately instead of by mirroring farther away beyond the STEREO orbit. Observations by the Nançay Radioheliograph (NRH) of two distinct radio sources during the SEP injection further support the above scenario. The determined electron path lengths are around 50% longer than the estimated lengths of the loop legs of the MC itself (based on the GCS model) suggesting that the amount of field line winding is moderate.
Key words: Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs) / Sun: heliosphere / Sun: particle emission / solar-terrestrial relations
© ESO, 2016