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The Astrophysical Journal


We have surveyed the spectral and compositional properties of suprathermal heavy ions during quiet times from 1995 January 1 to 2007 December 31 using Wind/Energetic Particles: Anisotropy, Composition, and Transport/SupraThermal-through-Energetic Particle Telescope and Advanced Composition Explorer/Ultra-low Energy Isotope Spectrometer at energies between 0.04 and 2.56 MeV nucleon−1. We find the following. (1) Quiet-time Fe/O and C/O abundances are correlated with solar cycle activity, reflecting corresponding values measured in solar energetic particle and interplanetary (IP) shock events during solar maximum, and those measured in the solar wind and corotating interaction regions (CIRs) during solar minimum conditions. (2) The 3He/4He ratio lies in the 3%–8% range during the quiet times of 1998–2004 with finite 3He detected on ~27.4% of the days. This ratio drops to 0.3%–1.2% during 2005–2007 and finite 3He is detected on ~5% of the days. (3) All heavy-ion species exhibit suprathermal tails between 0.04 and 0.32 MeV nucleon−1 with spectral indices ranging from ~1.27 to 2.29. These tails sometimes extend above ~2 MeV nucleon−1 with Fe spectra rolling over at lower energies than those of CNO. (4) The suprathermal tail spectral indices of heavier species (i.e., Fe) are harder than those of the lighter ones (i.e., CNO). These indices do not exhibit a clear solar cycle dependence and for ~50% of the time, they deviate significantly from the 1.5 value. These compositional observations provide evidence that even during the quietest times in IP space, the suprathermal population (3He and C-through-Fe) consists of ions from different sources whose relative contributions vary with solar activity. The heavy-ion energy spectra exhibit suprathermal tails with variable spectral indices that do not exhibit the spectral index of 1.5 predicted by some recent models.



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