High energy cosmic ray observations during August 1972

Rao, U. R. (1976) High energy cosmic ray observations during August 1972 Space Science Reviews, 19 (4-5). pp. 533-577. ISSN 0038-6308

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Official URL: http://www.springerlink.com/content/k5232v03659606...

Related URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00210641


A series of spectacular cosmic ray events which included two relativistic solar particle enhancements and three major Forbush decreases were registered by ground-based cosmic ray monitoring stations beginning 4 August, 1972. These were associated with four major proton flare events on the Sun and with large interplanetary magnetic field disturbances and high velocity shock waves. This review attempts to discuss and interpret the high energy cosmic ray phenomena observed during this period in the light of the known behaviour of low energy particulate flux, interplanetary plasma and field observations and other associated solar and terrestrial effects recorded during this period. The first Forbush decrease event FD-1 occurred in the early hours of 4 August, exhibiting very strong north-south and east-west anisotropies. Immediately following the onset of FD-1, the first ground level solar particle enhancement occurred. This event, which had its onset almost 6 h after the flare event on 4 August, had a very steep rigidity spectrum. The major Forbush event of the series which had its onset at ~2200 UT on 4 August, exhibited extremely interesting and complex behaviour, the prominent features of which are a precursory increase prior to the onset (PI-1), a large decrease (FD-2), the largest observed to date, followed immediately by an abrupt square wave like enhancement (PI-2). Interplanetary space during this entire period was highly disturbed by the presence of large low energy particulate fluxes and shock waves, at least one of which had a velocity exceeding 2000 km s−1. Large north-south and east-west anisotropies existed throughout the event. Both FD-2 and PI-2 were characterized by almost the same rigidity spectrum, with a power law index of −1.2 ± 0.2, and a predominant anisotropy along the sunward direction. The square wave-like spike PI-2 during the recovery of FD-2 was associated with a similar abrupt change in low energy particle flux in space, as well as an abrupt decrease in the interplanetary magnetic field value from ~50 γ to ~10 γ. Based on the available particle, field and plasma observations, an unified model is presented to explain the Forbush event in terms of a transient modulating region associated with the passage of a narrow magnetic shock front. In this model, the reflection of particles from the approaching shock front account for the precursory increase PI-1. The main Forbush event is caused when the magnetic barrier at the shock front sweeps past the Earth. The square wave increase is due to the enhanced flux contained in the 'magnetic well' just behind the shock front and bounded by magnetic discontinuities, which is explained as due to the transverse diffusion of particles into this region from the interplanetary space which have easy access to this region. In situ plasma, field and low energy particle observations are reviewed to support the model.

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