Solar Neutrons and the Earth's Radiation Belts

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Science  17 Apr 1964:
Vol. 144, Issue 3616, pp. 292-294
DOI: 10.1126/science.144.3616.292


The intensity and spectrum of solar neutrons in the vicinity of the earth are calculated on the assumption that the low-energy protons recently detected in balloon and satellite flights are products of solar neutron decay. The solar-neutron flux thus obtained exceeds the global average cosmic-ray neutron leakage above 10 Mev, indicating that it may be an important source of both the inner and outer radiation belts. Neutron measurements in the atmosphere are reviewed and several features of the data are found to be consistent with the estimated solar neutron spectrum.