We present the space spectrometer PAMELA observations of proton and helium fluxes during the 2006 December 13 and 14 solar particle events. This is the first direct measurement of the solar energetic particles in space with a single instrument in the energy range from ∼80MeVn-1 up to ∼3 GeV n-1. For the December 13 event, measured energy spectra of solar protons and helium are compared with results obtained by neutron monitors and other detectors. Our measurements show a spectral behavior different from those derived from the neutron monitor network. No satisfactory analytical fitting was found for the energy spectra. During the first hours of the December 13 event, solar energetic particles spectra were close to the exponential form, demonstrating rather significant temporal evolution. Solar He with energy up to 1 GeV n-1 was recorded on December 13. For the December 14 event, energy of solar protons reached 600 MeV, whereas the maximum energy of He was below 100MeVn-1. The spectra were slightly bent in the lower energy range and preserved their form during the second event. Differences in the particle flux appearance and temporal evolution of these two events may argue for special conditions leading to the acceleration of solar particles up to relativistic energies.
- Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs)
- Sun: flares
- space vehicles: instruments