Solar Modulation of Cosmic Rays

Marius S. Potgieter 
Centre for Space Research,
North-West University,
2520 Potchefstroom,
South Africa


This is an overview of the solar modulation of cosmic rays in the heliosphere. It is a broad topic with numerous intriguing aspects so that a research framework has to be chosen to concentrate on. The review focuses on the basic paradigms and departure points without presenting advanced theoretical or observational details for which there exists a large number of comprehensive reviews. Instead, emphasis is placed on numerical modeling which has played an increasingly significant role as computational resources have become more abundant. A main theme is the progress that has been made over the years. The emphasis is on the global features of CR modulation and on the causes of the observed 11-year and 22-year cycles and charge-sign dependent modulation. Illustrative examples of some of the theoretical and observational milestones are presented, without attempting to review all details or every contribution made in this field of research. Controversial aspects are discussed where appropriate, with accompanying challenges and future prospects. The year 2012 was the centennial celebration of the discovery of cosmic rays so that several general reviews were dedicated to historical aspects so that such developments are briefly presented only in a few cases.

Keywords: Cosmic rays, heliosphere, solar modulation, solar cycles, solar activity

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