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Determining Heating Rates in Reconnection Formed Flare Loops of the M8.0 Flare on 2005 May 13  

Wenjuan Liu   Submitted: 2013-04-17 10:18

We analyze and model an M8.0 flare on 2005 May 13 observed by the Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) and Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) to determine the energy release rate from magnetic reconnection that forms and heats numerous flare loops. The flare exhibits two ribbons in UV 1600 {AA} emission. Analysis shows that the UV light curve at each flaring pixel rises impulsively within a few minutes, and decays slowly with a timescale longer than 10 minutes. Since the lower atmosphere (the transition region and chromosphere) responds to energy deposit nearly instantaneously, the rapid UV brightening is thought to reflect the energy release process in the newly formed flare loop rooted at the foot point. In this paper, we utilize the spatially resolved (down to 1′′) UV light curves and the thick-target hard X-ray emission to construct heating functions of a few thousand flare loops anchored at the UV foot points, and compute plasma evolution in these loops using the Enthalpy-Based Thermal Evolution of Loops (EBTEL) model. The modeled coronal temperatures and densities of these flare loops are then used to calculate coronal radiation. The computed soft X-ray spectra and light curves compare favorably with those observed by RHESSI and by the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) X-ray Sensor (XRS). The time-dependent transition region differential emission measure (DEM) for each loop during its decay phase is also computed with a simplified model and used to calculate the optically-thin C iv line emission, which dominates the UV 1600 {AA} bandpass during the flare. The computed C iv line emission decays at the same rate as observed. This study presents a method to constrain heating of reconnection-formed flare loops using all available observables independently, and provides insight into the physics of energy release and plasma heating during the flare. With this method, the lower limit of the total energy used to heat the flare loops in this event is estimated to be 1.22e31 ergs, of which only 1.9e30 ergs is carried by beam-driven upflows during the impulsive phase, suggesting that the coronal plasmas are predominantly heated in situ.

Authors: Wen-Juan Liu, Jiong Qiu, Dana W. Longcope, Amir Caspi
Projects: TRACE

Publication Status: accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal
Last Modified: 2013-04-17 12:20
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Determining Heating Rates in Reconnection Formed Flare Loops of the M8.0 Flare on 2005 May 13

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