Two components in major solar particle events



[1] A study has been made of 29 intense, solar particle events observed in the energy range 25–80 MeV/nuc near Earth in the years 1997 through 2001. It is found that the majority of the events (19/29) had Fe/O ratios that were reasonably constant with time and energy, and with values above coronal. These all originated on the Sun's western hemisphere and most had intensities that rose rapidly at the time of an associated flare (and coronal mass ejection). Interplanetary shocks observed near Earth had little effect on particle intensities during these events. The remaining 10 events had different intensity-time profiles and Fe/O ratios that varied with time and energy with event-averaged values at or below coronal. Most of these originated near central meridian and 6 had strong interplanetary shocks that were observed near Earth. There were four events with two peaks in the intensity-time profiles, the first near the time of the associated flare (with high Fe/O) and the other at shock passage (with a lower Fe/O) suggesting that solar particle events have two components. At high rigidities the first component (probably flare generated) usually dominates and interplanetary shock-accelerated particles (forming the second component) make a minor contribution except in the case of unusually fast shocks.