The Electron energy spectrum from large solar flares

George Simnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


We report on the differential electron spectrum for intense transient events seen at one AU by the EPAM instrument on the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft. Over an observing period from September 1997 to September 2005, there were 45 major events that could be reliably identified with a source flare on the Sun. In the similar to 40 - 300 keV energy range, the electron spectral index was between one and three for all but two of the events. Twenty-five of the events were associated with Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) X-ray class X flares. We compare this result with the spectral index measured from electron pulse events, lasting approx. one hour or less, where the spectral index is typically much softer than three. This suggests that the measured spectral index of near-relativistic electrons at one AU may be a reliable indicator of the source. We also examine the likelihood that fast coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are responsible in themselves for accelerating near-relativistic electrons and conclude that they do not.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-395
Number of pages13
JournalSolar Physics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2006


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