Solar Physics

, 294:55 | Cite as

Temporal Evolution of Heavy-Ion Spectra in Solar Energetic Particle Events

  • Donald J. DoranEmail author
  • Silvia Dalla
  • Peter Zelina


Solar energetic particles (SEPs) are released into the heliosphere by solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). They are mostly protons, with smaller amounts of heavy ions from helium to iron, and lesser amounts of species heavier than iron. The spectra of heavy ions have been previously studied mostly by using the fluence of the particles in an event-integrated spectrum in a small number of spectral snapshots. In this article, we analyze the temporal evolution of the heavy-ion spectra using two large SEP events (27 January 2012 and 7 January 2014) from the Solar TErrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) era using Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) Solar Isotope Spectrometer (SIS) and Ultra Low Energy Isotope Spectrometer (ULEIS), Energetic Particles: Acceleration, Composition and Transport (EPACT) onboard Wind, and the STEREO-A (Ahead) and -B (Behind) Low-Energy Telescope (LET) and Suprathermal Ion Telescope (SIT) instruments, taking a large number of snapshots covering the temporal evolution of the event. We find large differences in the spectra of the ions after the main flux enhancement in terms of the grouping of similar species, but also in terms of the location of the instruments. Although it is somewhat less noticeable than in the case of the temporal evolution of protons (Doran and Dalla, Solar Phys.291, 2071, 2016), we observe a wave-like pattern travelling through the heavy ion spectra from the highest energies to the lowest, creating an “arch” structure that later straightens into a power law after 18 to 24 hours.


Cosmic rays, solar Energetic particles, abundances Energetic particles, propagation 



We thank the instrument teams for providing the data used in this study. We acknowledge use of the VEPO analysis tool as well as data and services provided by SEPEM and SEPSERVER. S. Dalla acknowledges support from STFC grant ST/M00760X/1. P. Zelina acknowledges support from the project VEGA 2/0004/16.

Disclosure of Potential Conflict of Interests

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Central LancashirePrestonUK
  2. 2.Astronomical InstituteSlovak Academy of SciencesTatranská LomnicaSlovakia

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