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Survey of Fast-Neutron Events at Mercury to Search for Solar Neutrons

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The purpose of this study is to survey all neutron events observed by the MESSENGER Neutron Spectrometer to assemble a set of conditions common to all that can help identify the physical conditions that produced these neutrons at their origin. Two possibilities exist; 1) they are generated at the Sun by collisions between ions accelerated in solar transients, or 2) they can be generated in the spacecraft by collisions between energetic ions and spacecraft material. All but one of 32 neutron events observed to date was accompanied by enhanced energetic charged particles. For these events, we are developing criteria to determine if the detected neutrons originate near the Sun or from local spacecraft material. 

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