Long-lasting injection of solar energetic electrons into the heliosphere
Institut für Experimentelle und Angewandte Physik, University of Kiel,
2 Space Research Group, Dpto. de Física y Matemáticas, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, Spain
3 Institute of Physics/Kanzelhöhe Observatory, University of Graz, Graz, Austria
Accepted: 26 January 2018
Context. The main sources of solar energetic particle (SEP) events are solar flares and shocks driven by coronal mass ejections (CMEs). While it is generally accepted that energetic protons can be accelerated by shocks, whether or not these shocks can also efficiently accelerate solar energetic electrons is still debated. In this study we present observations of the extremely widespread SEP event of 26 Dec 2013 To the knowledge of the authors, this is the widest longitudinal SEP distribution ever observed together with unusually long-lasting energetic electron anisotropies at all observer positions. Further striking features of the event are long-lasting SEP intensity increases, two distinct SEP components with the second component mainly consisting of high-energy particles, a complex associated coronal activity including a pronounced signature of a shock in radio type-II observations, and the interaction of two CMEs early in the event.
Aims. The observations require a prolonged injection scenario not only for protons but also for electrons. We therefore analyze the data comprehensively to characterize the possible role of the shock for the electron event.
Methods. Remote-sensing observations of the complex solar activity are combined with in situ measurements of the particle event. We also apply a graduated cylindrical shell (GCS) model to the coronagraph observations of the two associated CMEs to analyze their interaction.
Results. We find that the shock alone is likely not responsible for this extremely wide SEP event. Therefore we propose a scenario of trapped energetic particles inside the CME–CME interaction region which undergo further acceleration due to the shock propagating through this region, stochastic acceleration, or ongoing reconnection processes inside the interaction region. The origin of the second component of the SEP event is likely caused by a sudden opening of the particle trap.
Key words: Sun: particle emission / Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs) / Sun: flares / solar-terrestrial relations / Sun: radio radiation / acceleration of particles
© ESO 2018