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Found 12 entries in the Bibliography.

Showing entries from 1 through 12


Solar Energetic Proton Access to the Inner Magnetosphere during the 7-8 September 2017 event

Abstract The access of solar energetic protons into the inner magnetosphere on 7-8 September 2017 is investigated by following reversed proton trajectories to compute the proton cutoff energy using the Dartmouth geomagnetic cutoff code [Kress et al., 2010]. The cutoff energies for protons coming from the west and east direction, the minimum and maximum cutoff energy respectively, are calculated every five minutes along the orbit of Van Allen Probes using TS07 and the Lyon-Fedder-Mobarry (LFM) MHD magnetic field model. The result shows that the cutoff energy increases significantly as the radial distance decreases, and that the cutoff energy decreases with the building up of the ring current during magnetic storms. Solar wind dynamic pressure also affects cutoff suppression [Kress et al., 2004]. The LFM-RCM model shows stronger suppression of cutoff energy than TS07 during strong solar wind driving conditions. The simulation result is compared with proton flux measurements, showing consistent variation of the cutoff location during the 7-8 September 2017 geomagnetic storm. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Li, Zhao; Engel, Miles; Hudson, Mary; Kress, Brian; Patel, Maulik; Qin, Murong; Selesnick, Richard;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 06/2021

YEAR: 2021     DOI:

Van Allen Probes


Variability of the Proton Radiation Belt

Significant steady but slow variability of radiation belt proton intensity, in the energy range \~19\textendash200 MeV and for L<2.4, has been observed in an empirical model derived from data taken by Van Allen Probes during 2013\textendash2019. It is compared to predictions of a theoretical model based on measured initial and boundary conditions. Two aspects of the variability are considered in detail and require adjustments to model parameters. Observed inward transport of proton intensity maxima near L=1.9 and associated increasing intensity are caused in the model by inward radial diffusion from an external source while conserving the first two adiabatic invariants. The diffusion coefficient is constrained by these observations and is required to have increased near the start of 2015 by a factor \~2. Observed decay of proton intensity at L<1.6 can be caused only in part by energy loss to free and bound electrons in the local plasma and neutral atmosphere. Another, unknown loss mechanism is required to match observed proton decay rates as a function of energy. Accounting for the expected influence of slow radial diffusion at low L, the additional loss should have a mean lifetime near 22 years, independent of L and energy in the range \~19\textendash70 MeV. Several candidate loss mechanisms are considered\textemdashadded plasma or neutral density, elastic Coulomb scattering, plasma wave scattering, field-line curvature scattering, and collision with orbital debris\textemdashbut none are found viable.

Selesnick, R.; Albert, J.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 07/2019

YEAR: 2019     DOI: 10.1029/2019JA026754

protons; radial diffusion; Radiation belt; Van Allen Probes

Investigation of Solar Proton Access into the inner magnetosphere on 11 September 2017

In this study, access of solar energetic protons to the inner magnetosphere on 11 September 2017 is investigated by computing the reverse particle trajectories with the Dartmouth geomagnetic cutoff code [Kress et al., 2010]. The maximum and minimum cutoff rigidity at each point along the orbit of Van Allen Probe A is numerically computed by extending the code to calculate cutoff rigidity for particles coming from arbitrary direction. Pulse-height analyzed (PHA) data has the advantage of providing individual particle energies and effectively excluding background high energy proton contamination. This technique is adopted to study the cutoff locations for solar protons with different energy. The results demonstrate that cutoff latitude is lower for solar protons with higher energy, consistent with low altitude vertical cutoffs. Both the observations and numerical results show that proton access into the inner magnetosphere depends strongly on angle between particle arrival direction and magnetic west. The numerical result is approximately consistent with the observation that the energy of almost all solar protons stays above the minimum cutoff rigidity.

Qin, Murong; Hudson, Mary; Kress, Brian; Selesnick, Richard; Engel, Miles; Li, Zhao; Shen, Xiaochen;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 04/2019

YEAR: 2019     DOI: 10.1029/2018JA026380

cutoff energy; cutoff location; Dartmouth geomagnetic cutoff code; Pulse height analyzed data; Solar proton; straggling function; Van Allen Probes


Modeling the Proton Radiation Belt With Van Allen Probes Relativistic Electron-Proton Telescope Data

An empirical model of the proton radiation belt is constructed from data taken during 2013\textendash2017 by the Relativistic Electron-Proton Telescopes on the Van Allen Probes satellites. The model intensity is a function of time, kinetic energy in the range 18\textendash600 MeV, equatorial pitch angle, and L shell of proton guiding centers. Data are selected, on the basis of energy deposits in each of the nine silicon detectors, to reduce background caused by hard proton energy spectra at low L. Instrument response functions are computed by Monte Carlo integration, using simulated proton paths through a simplified structural model, to account for energy loss in shielding material for protons outside the nominal field of view. Overlap of energy channels, their wide angular response, and changing satellite orientation require the model dependencies on all three independent variables be determined simultaneously. This is done by least squares minimization with a customized steepest descent algorithm. Model uncertainty accounts for statistical data error and systematic error in the simulated instrument response. A proton energy spectrum is also computed from data taken during the 8 January 2014 solar event, to illustrate methods for the simpler case of an isotropic and homogeneous model distribution. Radiation belt and solar proton results are compared to intensities computed with a simplified, on-axis response that can provide a good approximation under limited circumstances.

Selesnick, R.; Baker, D.; Kanekal, S.; Hoxie, V.; Li, X.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 01/2018

YEAR: 2018     DOI: 10.1002/2017JA024661

data; protons; Radiation belt; Van Allen Probes


Comparison of Van Allen Probes radiation belt proton data with test particle simulation for the 17 March 2015 storm

The loss of protons in the outer part of the inner radiation belt (L = 2 to 3) during the 17 March 2015 geomagnetic storm was investigated using test particle simulations that follow full Lorentz trajectories with both magnetic and electric fields calculated from an empirical model. The simulation results presented here are compared with proton pitch angle measurements from the Van Allen Probe satellites Relativistic Electron Proton Telescope (REPT) instrument before and after the coronal mass ejection-shock-driven storm of 17\textendash18 March 2015, with minimum Dst =- 223 nT, the strongest storm of Solar Cycle 24, for four different energy ranges with 30, 38, 50, and 66 MeV mean energies. Two simulations have been run, one with an inductive electric field and one without. All four energy channels show good agreement with the Van Allen Probes REPT measurements for low L (L < 2.4) in both simulations but diverge for higher L values. The inclusion of the inductive electric field, calculated from the time-changing magnetic field, significantly improves the agreement between simulation and REPT measurements at L > 2.4. A previous study using the Highly Elliptical Orbiter 3 spacecraft also showed improved agreement when including the inductive electric field but was unable to compare effects on the pitch angle distributions.

Engel, M.; Kress, B.; Hudson, M.; Selesnick, R.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 11/2016

YEAR: 2016     DOI: 10.1002/2016JA023333

field line curvature scattering; inductive electric field; proton loss; Radiation belt; Van Allen Probes

Control of the innermost electron radiation belt by large-scale electric fields

Electron measurements from the Magnetic Electron Ion Spectrometer instruments on Van Allen Probes, for kinetic energies \~100 to 400 keV, show characteristic dynamical features of the innermost ( inline image) radiation belt: rapid injections, slow decay, and structured energy spectra. There are also periods of steady or slowly increasing intensity and of fast decay following injections. Local time asymmetry, with higher intensity near dawn, is interpreted as evidence for drift shell distortion by a convection electric field of magnitude \~0.4 mV/m during geomagnetically quiet times. Fast fluctuations in the electric field, on the drift time scale, cause inward diffusion. Assuming that they are proportional to changes in Kp, the resulting diffusion coefficient is sufficient to replenish trapped electrons lost by atmospheric scattering. Major electric field increases cause injections by inward electron transport. An injection associated with the June 2015 magnetic storm is consistent with an enhanced field magnitude \~5 mV/m. Subsequent drift echoes cause spectral structure.

Selesnick, R.; Su, Y.-J.; Blake, J.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 08/2016

YEAR: 2016     DOI: 10.1002/2016JA022973

electric field; electrons; Inner radiation belt; Van Allen Probes

Formation of the inner electron radiation belt by enhanced large-scale electric fields

A two-dimensional bounce-averaged test particle code was developed to examine trapped electron trajectories during geomagnetic storms with the assumption of conservation of the first and second adiabatic invariants. The March 2013 storm was selected as an example because the geomagnetic activity Kp index sharply increased from 2 + to 7- at 6:00 UT on 17 March. Electron measurements with energies between 37 and 460 keV from the Magnetic Electron Ion Spectrometer (MagEIS) instrument onboard Van Allen Probes (VAP) are used as initial conditions prior to the storm onset and served to validate test particle simulations during the storm. Simulation results help to interpret the observed electron injection as nondiffusive radial transport over a short distance in the inner belt and slot region based on various electric field models, although the quantitative comparisons are not precise. We show that electron drift trajectories are sensitive to the selection of electric field models. Moreover, our simulation results suggest that the actual field strength of penetration electric fields during this storm is stronger than any existing electric field model, particularly for L <= 2.

Su, Yi-Jiun; Selesnick, Richard; Blake, J.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 08/2016

YEAR: 2016     DOI: 10.1002/2016JA022881

DC electric fields; electron injections; Inner radiation belt; test particle simulation; Van Allen Probes; Van Allen Probes electron measurements

Inward diffusion and loss of radiation belt protons

Radiation belt protons in the kinetic energy range 24 to 76 MeV are being measured by the Relativistic Electron Proton Telescope on each of the two Van Allen Probes. Data have been processed for the purpose of studying variability in the trapped proton intensity during October 2013 to August 2015. For the lower energies (≲32 MeV), equatorial proton intensity near L = 2 showed a steady increase that is consistent with inward diffusion of trapped solar protons, as shown by positive radial gradients in phase space density at fixed values of the first two adiabatic invariants. It is postulated that these protons were trapped with enhanced efficiency during the 7 March 2012 solar proton event. A model that includes radial diffusion, along with known trapped proton source and loss processes, shows that the observed average rate of increase near L = 2 is predicted by the same model diffusion coefficient that is required to form the entire proton radiation belt, down to low L, over an extended (\~103 year) interval. A slower intensity decrease for lower energies near L = 1.5 may also be caused by inward diffusion, though it is faster than predicted by the model. Higher-energy (≳40 MeV) protons near the L = 1.5 intensity maximum are from cosmic ray albedo neutron decay. Their observed intensity is lower than expected by a factor \~2, but the discrepancy is resolved by adding an unspecified loss process to the model with a mean lifetime \~120 years.

Selesnick, R.; Baker, D.; Jaynes, A.; Li, X.; Kanekal, S.; Hudson, M.; Kress, B.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 03/2016

YEAR: 2016     DOI: 10.1002/2015JA022154

protons; radial diffusion; Radiation belt; Van Allen Probes


Measurement of inner radiation belt electrons with kinetic energy above 1~MeV

Data from the Proton-Electron Telescope on the Solar, Anomalous, and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer (SAMPEX) satellite, taken during 1992\textendash2009, are analyzed for evidence of inner radiation belt electrons with kinetic energy E > 1 MeV. It is found that most of the data from a detector combination with a nominal energy threshold of 1 MeV were, in fact, caused by a chance coincidence response to lower energy electrons or high-energy protons. In particular, there was no detection of inner belt or slot region electrons above 1 MeV following the 2003 Halloween storm injection, though they may have been present. However, by restricting data to a less-stable, low-altitude trapping region, a persistent presence of inner belt electrons in the energy range 1 to 1.6 MeV is demonstrated. Their soft, exponential energy spectra are consistent with extrapolation of lower energy measurements.

Selesnick, R.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 10/2015

YEAR: 2015     DOI: 10.1002/2015JA021387

electrons; Inner zone; Radiation belt

High-energy radiation belt electrons from CRAND

A calculation of the inner radiation belt electron source from cosmic ray albedo neutron decay (CRAND) is described. High-energy electrons are included by Lorentz-transforming the β decay spectrum from the neutron rest frame to the Earth\textquoterights rest frame and combining with the known high-energy albedo neutron energy spectrum. Balancing the electron source with energy loss to atmospheric neutral atoms and plasma, and with a decay lifetime representative of plasma wave scattering, then provides an estimate of trapped electron intensity. It is well below measured values for low energies, confirming that CRAND is not a significant source of those trapped electrons. For kinetic energies above the maximum β decay energy (E > 0.8 MeV) a power law energy spectrum \~E-4 is predicted. For L = 1.5 and inline image MeV the computed omnidirectional trapped electron intensity exceeds an extrapolation of the measured low-energy exponential energy spectrum.

Selesnick, R.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 03/2015

YEAR: 2015     DOI: 10.1002/2014JA020963

inner radiation; electron source from cosmic ray albedo neutron decay

Upper limit on the inner radiation belt MeV electron Intensity

No instruments in the inner radiation belt are immune from the unforgiving penetration of the highly energetic protons (10s of MeV to GeV). The inner belt proton flux level, however, is relatively stable, thus for any given instrument, the proton contamination often leads to a certain background noise. Measurements from the Relativistic Electron and Proton Telescope integrated little experiment (REPTile) on board Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment (CSSWE) CubeSat, in a low Earth orbit, clearly demonstrate that there exist sub-MeV electrons in the inner belt because of their flux level is orders of magnitude higher than the background, while higher energy electron (>1.6 MeV) measurements cannot be distinguished from the background. Detailed analysis of high-quality measurements from the Relativistic Electron and Proton Telescope (REPT) on board Van Allen Probes, in a geo-transfer-like orbit, provides, for the first time, quantified upper limits on MeV electron fluxes in various energy ranges in the inner belt. These upper limits are rather different from flux levels in the AE8 and AE9 models, which were developed based on older data sources. For 1.7, 2.5, and 3.3 MeV electrons, the upper limits are about one order of magnitude lower than predicted model fluxes. The implication of this difference is profound in that unless there are extreme solar wind conditions, which have not happened yet since the launch of Van Allen Probes, significant enhancements of MeV electrons do not occur in the inner belt even though such enhancements are commonly seen in the outer belt.

Li, X.; Selesnick, R.; Baker, D.; Jaynes, A.; Kanekal, S.; Schiller, Q.; Blum, L.; Fennell, J.; Blake, J.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 01/2015

YEAR: 2015     DOI: 10.1002/2014JA020777

Van Allen Probes


Observations of the inner radiation belt: CRAND and trapped solar protons

Measurements of inner radiation belt protons have been made by the Van Allen Probes Relativistic Electron-Proton Telescopes as a function of kinetic energy (24 to 76 MeV), equatorial pitch angle, and magnetic L shell, during late-2013 and early-2014. A probabilistic data analysis method reduces background from contamination by higher energy protons. Resulting proton intensities are compared to predictions of a theoretical radiation belt model. Then trapped protons originating both from cosmic ray albedo neutron decay (CRAND) and from trapping of solar protons are evident in the measured distributions. An observed double-peaked distribution in L is attributed, based on the model comparison, to a gap in the occurrence of solar proton events during the 2007 to 2011 solar minimum. Equatorial pitch angle distributions show that trapped solar protons are confined near the magnetic equator, but that CRAND protons can reach low-altitudes. Narrow pitch angle distributions near the outer edge of the inner belt are characteristic of proton trapping limits.

Selesnick, R.; Baker, D.; Jaynes, A.; Li, X.; Kanekal, S.; Hudson, M.; Kress, B.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 08/2014

YEAR: 2014     DOI: 10.1002/2014JA020188

Van Allen Probes