The timing of relativistic proton acceleration in the 20 January 2005 flare
School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 2 September 2005
Understanding the energy budget in large solar flares requires a good knowledge of how and where the energetic charged particles are accelerated. If they are mainly accelerated by a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME)-driven shock, then they do not have to derive their energy from the flare region. Conversely, if the CME does not accelerate the particles, then the energy must be provided from elsewhere. Resolution of this controversial issue may be aided if we can study events where the timing of the energetic charged particle acceleration may be tightly constrained by the data. We report here on high resolution observations of such an event. The intense ground level solar proton event of 20 January, 2005 had a rise to maximum at the South Pole of around 5 min, with a similar decay time to 1/3 maximum. This suggests that the magnetic connection from the Sun to the Earth was good and that the proton injection was impulsive on the timescale of a few minutes or less. Comparison of the proton onset time with the solar electromagnetic emissions which accompany large flares, together with observations of the coronal mass ejection seen around the injection time suggests that the CME was not responsible for the relativistic ion acceleration. The near-relativistic (~250 keV) electron intensity onset was some 8 min later than the proton onset. Implications of this on the relative injection time of the particles are discussed. It is concluded that while the relativistic protons were not accelerated by the CME-driven shock, the CME may have influenced the release of both flare-accelerated protons and electrons into the interplanetary medium.
Key words: Sun: flares / Sun: acceleration of particles / Sun: coronal mass ejection (CMEs)
© ESO, 2005