Elemental composition and energy spectra of galactic cosmic rays during solar cycle 23

J. S. George, K. A. Lave, M. E. Wiedenbeck, W. R. Binns, A. C. Cummings, A. J. Davis, G. A. De Nolfo, P. L. Hink, M. H. Israel, R. A. Leske, R. A. Mewaldt, L. M. Scott, E. C. Stone, T. T. Von Rosenvinge, N. E. Yanasak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


We report improved measurements of elemental abundances and spectra for galactic cosmic-ray (GCR) nuclei obtained by the Cosmic Ray Isotope Spectrometer on board NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft during the minimum and maximum phases of solar cycle 23. We discuss results for particles with nuclear charge 5 ≤ Z ≤ 28 and typical energies between 50 and 500 Me V nucleon-1.We demonstrate that a detailed "leaky box" Galactic propagation model combined with a spherically symmetric solar modulation model gives a good (but not perfect) fit to the observed spectra by using a solar modulation parameter of φ = 325 MV at solar minimum and φ = 900 MV at solar maximum. Although our results are generally consistent with previous measurements from space-based and balloon-based missions, there are significant differences. The large geometrical acceptance and excellent charge resolution of the instrument result in the most detailed and statistically significant record of GCR composition to date in this energy range. The measurements reported here serve as a high-precision baseline for continued studies of GCR composition, solar modulation over the solar cycle, space radiation hazards, and other applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1666-1681
Number of pages16
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 20 2009


  • Cosmic rays
  • Galaxy: Abundances
  • Sun: Activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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