The 774 AD solar proton event (SPE) detected in cosmogenic nuclides had an inferred >1 GV (>430 MeV) fluence estimated to have been ~30–70 times larger than that of the 1956 February 23 ground level event (GLE). The 1956 GLE was itself ~2.5 times larger at >430 MeV than the episode of strong GLE activity from 1989 August–October. We use an inferred soft X-ray (SXR) class of X20 ± 10 for the 1956 February 23 eruptive flare as a bridge to the source flare for the 774 SPE. A correlation of the >200 MeV proton fluences of hard-spectra post-1975 GLEs with the SXR peak fluxes of their associated flares yields an SXR flare class of X285 ± 140 (bolometric energy of ~(1.9 ± 0.7) × 1033 erg) for the 774 flare. This estimate is within theoretical determinations of the largest flare the Sun could produce based on the largest spot group yet observed. Assuming a single eruptive flare source for the 774 SPE, the above estimate indicates that the Sun can produce a threshold-level 1033 erg superflare. If the 774 event originated in two closely timed, equal-fluence SPEs, the inferred flare size drops to X180 ± 90 (~(1.4 ± 0.5) × 1033 erg). We speculate on favorable solar conditions that can lead to enhanced shock acceleration of high-energy protons in eruptive flares.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||On the size of the flare associated with the solar proton event in 774 AD|
|Series title||Astrophysical Journal|
|Publisher||American Astronomical Society|
|Contributing office(s)||Geologic Hazards Science Center|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|