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Proton-helium spectral anomaly as a signature of cosmic ray accelerator.


The much-anticipated proof of cosmic ray (CR) acceleration in supernova remnants must hinge on the full consistency of acceleration theory with the observations; direct proof is impossible because of CR-orbit scrambling. Recent observations indicate deviations between helium and proton CR rigidity spectra inconsistent with the theory. By considering an initial (injection) phase of the diffusive shock acceleration, where elemental similarity does not apply, we demonstrate that the spectral difference is, in fact, a unique signature of the acceleration mechanism. Collisionless shocks inject more He(2+) when they are stronger and so produce harder He(2+) spectra. The injection bias is due to Alfvén waves driven by the more abundant protons, so the He(2+) ions are harder to trap by these waves. By fitting the p/He ratio to the PAMELA data, we bolster the diffusive shock acceleration case for resolving the century-old mystery of CR origin.

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