Volume 486, Number 2, August I 2008
|Page(s)||589 - 596|
|Published online||15 May 2008|
Open magnetic flux tubes in the corona and the transport of solar energetic particles
Observatoire de Paris, LESIA-CNRS UMR 8109, 92195 Meudon, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-7450, USA e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 6 May 2008
We investigate how magnetic fields guide energetic particles through the corona into interplanetary space and eventually to a spacecraft near the Earth. A set of seven simple particle events is studied, where energetic electrons (30–500 keV; Wind spacecraft) or protons (5–55 MeV; SoHO) were released together with low-energy electron beams producing metric-to-kilometric type III emission. Imaging of the coronal (metre-wave) part of this emission with the Nançay Radioheliograph is used to identify the open flux tubes that guide these electrons – and by inference all particles detected at 1 AU. Open coronal field lines are also computed using potential magnetic field extrapolations, constrained by a source surface and by SoHO/MDI measurements in the photosphere (code by Schrijver and DeRosa). We find that in all events the type III radio sources lie in open flux tubes in the potential magnetic field extrapolations. The open flux tubes are rooted in small parts of the parent active region, covering a heliocentric angle of a few degrees in the photosphere. But they expand rapidly above the neighbouring closed magnetic structures and cover several tens of degrees in longitude on the source surface. Some of these open field lines are found to connect the parent active region to the footpoint of the nominal Parker spiral on the source surface, within the uncertainty of about ±10° inherent to the evaluation of its connection longitude. This is so even when the parent active region is as far as 50° away. In two cases where the coronal flux tubes point to high heliolatitudes, the detection of Langmuir waves at the Wind spacecraft in the ecliptic plane suggests that the interplanetary field lines curve down to the ecliptic before reaching 1 AU. We conclude that non-radial open flux tubes in the corona can transport particles over several tens of degrees in longitude even in simple impulsive particle events. In all events we studied, potential magnetic field models give an adequate description of these structures.
Key words: Sun: particle emission / Sun: corona / Sun: radio radiation / Sun: magnetic fields / Sun: flares / Sun: solar-terrestrial relations
© ESO, 2008
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