AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 65. Advanced Solar Space Missions
Solar, Oral, Wednesday, June 2, 1999, 8:30-10:00am, 10:45am-12:30pm, Continental Ballroom C

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[65.03] High Energy Observations at the Next Maximum

R. P. Lin (University of California, Berkeley)

Solar flares and fast Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) are the most powerful particle accelerators in the solar system; both can accelerate ions to tens of GeV and electrons to hundreds of MeV. Solar flares can release up to ~10e32-10e33 ergs in a period of several minutes. A substantial fraction of this energy is channeled into energetic >10 keV electrons and possibly ~MeV ions. Shock waves driven by fast CMEs can accelerate particles over a large fraction of the Sun's corona, and fill the heliosphere with high energy particles. The Particle Acceleration Solar Orbiter (PASO) mission for the next solar maximum (~2010) is designed to address the fundamental question of how the Sun accelerates particles. PASO will use solar sailing to carry an array of remote-sensing and in situ instruments to a near synchronous orbit (orbital period ~ solar rotation period) at 0.16- 0.2 AU, to enable continous observation of active regions and CME-related solar structures from birth through maximum and decay. It will allow much higher sensitivity and spatial resolution observations than possible at 1 AU for hard X-ray/gamma-ray continuum and gamma-ray lines/neutrons, which the most direct signatures of energetic electrons and ions, respectively, at the Sun. It also permits detailed observations of escaping energetic particles before significant scattering and energy changes have occurred, and of the associated CMEs and their shock waves before they have evolved significantly.

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