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The Energetics of White-light Flares Observed by SDO/HMI and RHESSI  

Nengyi Huang   Submitted: 2016-08-24 09:28

White-light (WL) flares have been observed and studied more than a century since the first discovery. However, some fundamental physics behind the brilliant emission remains highly controversial. One of the important facts in addressing the flare energetics is the spatial-temporal correlation between the white-light emission and the hard X-ray radiation, presumably suggesting that the energetic electrons are the energy sources. In this study, we present a statistical analysis of 25 strong flares (greater than and equal to M5) observed simultaneously by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI). Among these events, WL emission was detected by SDO/HMI in 13 flares, associated with HXR emission. To quantitatively describe the strength of WL emission, equivalent area (EA) is defined as the integrated contrast enhancement over the entire flaring area. Our results show that the equivalent area is inversely proportional to the HXR power index, indicating that stronger WL emission tends to be associated with larger population of high energy electrons. However, no obvious correlation is found between WL emission and flux of non-thermal electrons at 50 keV. For the other group of 13 flares without detectable WL emission, the HXR spectra are softer (larger power index) than those flares with WL emission, especially for the X-class flares in this group.

Authors: Huang, N., Xu, Y., Wang, H.

Publication Status: accepted
Last Modified: 2016-08-24 12:01
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The Energetics of White-light Flares Observed by SDO/HMI and RHESSI

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