A cosmic-ray-mediated shock in the solar system Academic Article uri icon


  • It is pointed out that the flare-induced blast wave of Aug. 4, 1972, the most violent disturbance in the solar wind on record, produced cosmic rays with an efficiency of about 50%. Such a high efficiency is predicted by the self-regulating production model of cosmic-ray origin in shocks. Most interplanetary shocks, according to simple theoretical analysis, are not strong enough to produce cosmic rays efficiently. However, if shock strength is the key parameter governing efficiency, as present interplanetary data suggest, then shocks from supernova blasts, quasar outbursts, and other violent astrophysical phenomena should be extremely efficient sources of cosmic rays.

publication date

  • September 1, 1981