University of Maryland
Atlantic Building, Room 2400
4:30 PM Monday, February 13, 2012
Coffee, Tea & Snacks 4:15-4:30 PM

Rogelio A. Caballero-Lopez
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico
The modulation of galactic cosmic-ray electrons in the heliosheath

Voyager 1 has observed strong increases in the intensities of 2 to 160 MeV electrons since crossing the termination shock of the heliosphere in December 2004. Before this time these intensities were submerged below the detector background, except for occasional transient events. These increases are large compared to the concurrent increases of positive ions such as H, He, and O. A significant part is probably due to temporal effects as the heliosphere was recovering to solar minimum conditions from 2005 to early 2010. The intensity observed by Voyager 2 since its crossing of the shock in September 2007 until early 2010 is five to ten times lower than that observed by Voyager 1, which is so low that the electron intensity may still be below the background produced by high-energy protons in the detector. This points to a large North-South asymmetry in the properties of the heliosheath. It is shown that the observations suggest that these electrons are not freshly accelerated on the termination shock, but that they rather are of galactic origin - while they may be re-accelerated by that shock. In this work these intensities are modeled with numerical solutions of the cosmic-ray transport equation. It is shown that because they are relativistic, the electrons are much more sensitive to the form of the diffusion coefficient at low rigidities than ions, and that this can explain the asymmetry. Also a discussion of the latest Voyager 2 electron observations will be presented.

Sponsored by: Department of Physics and the Institute for Physical Science and Technology, University of Maryland. For information call Catha Stewart at (301) 405-4811 or go to the UMD Space Physics group seminar web site.

There is free parking after 4:00 PM in lot B (the big parking garage across the street from the ATL building). There are a limited number of spaces in lot Q next to the new ATL wing with free parking after 4PM even when there is a basketball game on campus.