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Galactic Cosmic Rays Trapped Electrons and Protons The Radiation Belts and Killer Electrons Terry Onsager, NOAA Space Environment Center Solar Energetic.

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Presentation on theme: "Galactic Cosmic Rays Trapped Electrons and Protons The Radiation Belts and Killer Electrons Terry Onsager, NOAA Space Environment Center Solar Energetic."— Presentation transcript:

1 Galactic Cosmic Rays Trapped Electrons and Protons The Radiation Belts and Killer Electrons Terry Onsager, NOAA Space Environment Center Solar Energetic Particles

2 Radiation belt electron energies: ~ few hundred keV and above Ring current electron energies: ~ few hundred keV and below AF-Geospace, Courtesy of Greg Ginet, AFRL Magnetospheric Specification Model, Rice University Ring Current and Radiation Belts Radiation belt dynamics is controlled mainly by diffusion and magnetic drifts. Ring current dynamics is controlled mainly by electric and magnetic drifts.

3 The Radiation Belts and Killer Electrons What are they, and why do we care? -Persistent region of high-energy electron radiation trapped within the magnetosphere -Shape of the radiation belt is controlled by the magnetic field -Intensity of the radiation is controlled by acceleration and loss processes inside the magnetosphere – the energy source for all these processes is the solar wind -Highest energy electrons (> 500 keV) penetrate deep into satellite components and create internal discharges -Lower energy electrons charge the satellite surface and create electrical discharges -High energy electrons represent a radiation hazard for astronauts

4 How is Knowledge of the Radiation Belts Valuable? -Long-term measurements of the radiation levels are critical for designing (and not over-designing) satellite components -Real-time measurements give situational awareness – If an anomaly occurs in a satellite, what is the probable cause? -Prediction of the radiation levels are useful for planning satellite operations -Long-term measurements, real-time measurements, and predictions are all valuable for assessing and avoiding radiation exposure to astronauts -Long-term measurements allow us to study the radiation belts, improve our understanding, and deliver higher accuracy predictions and specifications

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12 Electrons Ions Energetic Plasma From the Tail Diverts Around Earth Forming the Ring Current and Radiation Belts Electrons move anti-clockwise around Earth Ions move clockwise around Earth

13 Electrons are Trapped on the Magnetic Field as They Drift Around Earth AFGL Gyroperiod: ~ sec (for 1 MeV electrons) Bounce between hemispheres: ~ 0.1 sec Drift period around Earth: ~10 min

14 AF-Geospace, Courtesy of Greg Ginet, AFRL -Electrons drift around Earth on surfaces of roughly constant magnetic field magnitude -Magnetic field is distorted – compressed on the sunward side and stretched out on the night side – which also gives a day/night distortion to the radiation belt. Peak flux is near L = 4 – 5 (where L is roughly the distance from the center of the Earth to the location where the magnetic field line crosses the equator)

15 Question for Discussion: Which electron flux profile would a geosynchronous satellite (dashed circle) see as it orbited Earth? Equatorial Plane View midnight noon midnight noon midnight noon midnight noon Electron flux Location

16 midnight noon 2 Answer: When studying and monitoring space weather, multiple satellite locations and models are needed to obtain a complete picture of the radiation belt properties. Electron Flux (cm 2 s sr) -1 Electron Flux (cm 2 s sr) -1 Magnetic Field (nT) Magnetic Field (nT)

17 -Radiation belt electrons are trapped in the magnetosphere, but accelerated by the solar wind energy - Flowing solar wind causes ripples on the surface of the magnetosphere that pump up the electrons’ energy - Radiation levels increase with increases in solar wind speed Solar Wind is the Source of the Radiation Belt

18 I. Mann Surface Waves Propagate into the Magnetosphere and Accelerate the Electrons

19 Extreme Changes in the Radiation Levels are Driven by the Solar Wind -High-speed solar wind often recurs predictably due to the rotation of the sun -Models can predict the radiation levels fairly well using the solar wind speed as input

20 Radiation Levels are Highest During Solar Minimum When Persistent High-Speed Solar Wind Streams Occur

21 Low-energy electrons “stick” to the spacecraft surface. High-energy electrons penetrate the satellite and can get embedded in insulating materials. Electrons can slowly drift out of the material, and therefore long periods (days) of high electron fluxes are associated with deep-dielectric anomalies.

22 2-day fluence* Data days ESD switches Switch days Green< % Amber % Red  % Total % Phantom commands are well correlated with 2-day fluence of >2 MeV electrons Solar cycle, solar rotation and seasonal effects are also observed – peak fluxes observed during high-speed streams and near the equinoxes. G. Wrenn Satellite Anomaly Occurrence and Seasonal Variability of Electron Fluence

23 Models can be used to predict the intensity of the radiation belts Chris Smithtro, USAF & NOAA/SEC Input: Vsw (ACE) & GOES electrons -1-, 2-, and 3-day predictions Pred. Vsw (Wang-Sheeley) & e - - up to 8-day predictions

24 Future Challenge: Specify and Predict the Radiation in any Orbit J. Goldstein, SWRI M. Bodeau, Boeing

25 26 Mar Anik E1- Solar panel failed, ESD. Half of the transponders turned off. 11 Jan Telstar Electrostatic discharge; total loss 11 Apr Tempo 2 - Solar flare zapped three transponders, DC power loss 4 Oct Insat 2D - Short circuit, Electrostatic discharge, loss of power, total loss Dec TOMS - Single Event Upset disrupts spacecraft's computer operations 15 Jul ASCA (Astro-D) - Satellite started spinning during solar activity, total loss. 27 Sep Solar Flare Activity Postpones Kodiak Star Launch 21 Nov Stardust Blinded By Solar Flare 21 Apr Nozomi - Hit by solar storm, loss of most communications, mission loss. 25 Oct ADEOS-2 – impacted by solar activity – total loss 28 Oct Mars Odyssey Probe – MARIE instrument destroyed due to solar activity Nov Double Star – redundant attitude Computer failed Satellite Impacts

26 Which spacecraft anomalies were likely to have been caused by radiation belt electrons? Baker et al., Equator-S 2.Polar 3.Galaxy 4 4.Equator-S and Galaxy 4 5.POLAR and Galaxy 4 6.All of them 7.None of them Question for Discussion:

27 Which spacecraft anomalies were likely to have been caused by radiation belt electrons? The Equator-S and Galaxy 4 failures both occurred after a long period of enhanced electrons. The POLAR failure occurred shortly after the electron flux rose, and coincident with enhanced energetic protons. However, the cause of spacecraft anomalies is often hard to pin down.

28 Summary -Radiation belt is a persistent and highly dynamic region of electron radiation within the magnetosphere -Radiation fills much of the inner magnetosphere and impacts nearly all satellite orbits -Highest energy electrons cause internal discharges and lower energy electrons cause surface discharges -Highest energy electrons are a radiation hazard for astronauts -Solar wind is the energy source for the electrons – the most intense radiation levels occur during solar minimum when the solar wind speed can be persistently high -A 3-D specification of the radiation belt is needed to help with the planning and operation of satellites in many different orbits.


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