Quasi-periodic acceleration of electrons by a plasmoid-driven shock in the solar atmosphere

Date
2013-10
Authors
Carley, Eoin P.
Long, David M.
Byrne, Jason P.
Zucca, Pietro
Bloomfield, D. Shaun
McCauley, Joseph
Gallagher, Peter T.
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Nature Physics
Abstract
Cosmic rays and solar energetic particles may be accelerated to relativistic energies by shock waves in astrophysical plasmas. On the Sun, shocks and particle acceleration are often associated with the eruption of magnetized plasmoids, called coronal mass ejections (CMEs). However, the physical relationship between CMEs and shock particle acceleration is not well understood. Here, we use extreme ultraviolet, radio and white-light imaging of a solar eruptive event on 22 September 2011 to show that a CME-induced shock (Alfvén Mach number 2:4+0:7 -0:8) was coincident with a coronal wave and an intense metric radio burst generated by intermittent acceleration of electrons to kinetic energies of 2{46 keV (0.1{0.4 c). Our observations show that plasmoid-driven quasi-perpendicular shocks are capable of producing quasi-periodic acceleration of electrons, an effect consistent with a turbulent or rippled plasma shock surface.
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