Using ground-level observations of cosmic-ray (CR) intensities from a worldwide network of stations during the ground-level enhancement (GLE) of 22–23 October 1989, variations of the particle distribution function in all phases of the event were investigated.
It is shown that time intensity profiles of 2–4 GV rigidity particles differ greatly from those of higher-energy particles. After the high-energy particle intensity attains a maximum, there is an abrupt decrease in intensity below the background level, followed by the phase of slow recovery to background values. The angular distribution of high-energy particles across the celestial sphere shows, along with an increased intensity, also regions with decreased relative background intensity.
To explain the detected phenomenon, it is concluded that it is necessary to consider the solar CR propagation process in the heliosphere not in terms of the movement of particles in the external electromagnetic field but with proper account of the self-consistency of fields with the particle distribution function.