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Spectral Power-law Formation by Sequential Particle Acceleration in Multiple Flare Magnetic Islands  

Silvina Esther Guidoni   Submitted: 2022-01-17 08:13

We present a first-principles model of pitch-angle and energy distribution function evolution as particles are sequentially accelerated by multiple flare magnetic islands. Data from magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of an eruptive flare/coronal mass ejection provide ambient conditions for the evolving particle distributions. Magnetic islands, which are created by sporadic reconnection at the self-consistently formed flare current sheet, contract and accelerate the particles. The particle distributions are evolved using rules derived in our previous work. In this investigation, we assume that a prescribed fraction of particles sequentially "hops" to another accelerator and receives an additional boost in energy and anisotropy. This sequential process generates particle number spectra that obey an approximate power law at mid-range energies and presents low- and high-energy breaks. We analyze these spectral regions as functions of the model parameters. We also present a fully analytic method for forming and interpreting such spectra, independent of the sequential acceleration model. The method requires only a few constrained physical parameters, such as the percentage of particles transferred between accelerators, the energy gain in each accelerator, and the number of accelerators visited. Our investigation seeks to bridge the gap between MHD and kinetic regimes by combining global simulations and analytic kinetic theory. The model reproduces and explains key characteristics of observed flare hard X-ray spectra as well as the underlying properties of the accelerated particles. Our analytic model provides tools to interpret high-energy observations for missions and telescopes, such as RHESSI, FOXSI, NuSTAR, Solar Orbiter, EOVSA, and future high-energy missions.

Authors: Silvina E. Guidoni, Judith T. Karpen, and C. Richard DeVore
Projects: None

Publication Status: Accepted to be published in The Astrophysical Journal
Last Modified: 2022-01-17 14:46
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Spectral Power-law Formation by Sequential Particle Acceleration in Multiple Flare Magnetic Islands

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