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Solar Flare Arcade Modelling: Bridging the gap from 1D to 3D Simulations of Optically Thin Radiation  

Graham Kerr   Submitted: 2020-07-28 21:39

Solar flares are 3D phenomenon but modelling a flare in 3D, including many of the important processes in the chromosphere, is a computational challenge. Accurately modelling the chromosphere is important, even if the transition region and corona are the areas of interest, due to the flow of energy, mass, and radiation through the interconnected layers. We present a solar flare arcade model, that aims to bridge the gap between 1D and 3D modelling. Our approach is limited to the synthesis of optically thin emission. Using observed active region loop structures in a 3D domain we graft simulated 1D flare atmospheres onto each loop, synthesise the emission and then project that emission onto to the 2D observational plane. Emission from SDO/AIA, GOES/XRS, and IRIS/SG Fe XXI 1354.1A was forward modelled. We analyse the temperatures, durations, mass flows, and line widths associated with the flare, finding qualitative agreement but certain quantitative differences. Compared to observations, the Doppler shifts are of similar magnitude but decay too quickly. They are not as ordered, containing a larger amount of scatter compared to observations. The duration of gradual phase emission from GOES and AIA emission is also too short. Fe XXI lines are broadened, but not sufficiently. These findings suggest that additional physics is required in our model. The arcade model that we show here as a proof-of-concept can be extended to investigate other lines and global aspects of solar flares, providing a means to better test the coronal response to models of flare energy injection.

Authors: Graham S. Kerr, Joel C. Allred and Vanessa Polito
Projects: GOES X-rays,IRIS,SDO-AIA

Publication Status: Accepted in Astrophysical Journal
Last Modified: 2020-07-29 13:07
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Modelling Mg II During Solar Flares. II. Non-equilibrium Effects  

Graham Kerr   Submitted: 2019-09-30 19:15

To extract the information that the Mg II NUV spectra (observed by the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph; IRIS), carries about the chromosphere during solar flares, and to validate models of energy transport via model-data comparison, forward modelling is required. The assumption of statistical equilibrium is typically used to obtain the atomic level populations from snapshots of flare atmospheres, due to computational necessity. However it is possible that relying on statistical equilibrium could lead to spurious results. We compare solving the atomic level populations via statistical equilibrium versus a non-equilibrium time-dependent approach. This was achieved using flare simulations from RADYN alongside the minority species version, MS_RADYN, from which the time-dependent Mg II atomic level populations and radiation transfer were computed in complete frequency redistribution. The impacts on the emergent profiles, lightcurves, line ratios, and formation heights are discussed. In summary we note that non-equilibrium effects during flares are typically important only in the initial stages and for a short period following the cessation of the energy injection. An analysis of the timescales of ionisation equilibrium reveals that for most of the duration of the flare, when the temperatures and densities are sufficiently enhanced, the relaxation timescales are short (τreleax<0.1 s), so that the equilibrium solution is an adequate approximation. These effects vary with the size of the flare, however. In weaker flares effects can be more pronounced. We recommend that non-equilibrium effects be considered when possible, but that statistical equilibrium is sufficient at most stages of the flare.

Authors: Kerr, Graham S., Carlsson, Mats and Allred, J.C.
Projects: None

Publication Status: Accepted in the Astrophysical Journal
Last Modified: 2019-10-02 10:40
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Modelling Mg II During Solar Flares, I: Partial Frequency Redistribution, Opacity, and Coronal Irradiation  

Graham Kerr   Submitted: 2019-08-19 20:01

The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) has routinely observed the flaring Mg II NUV spectrum, offering excellent diagnostic potential and a window into the location of energy deposition. A number of studies have forward modelled both the general properties of these lines and specific flare observations. Generally these have forward modelled radiation via post-processing of snapshots from hydrodynamic flare simulations through radiation transfer codes. There has, however, not been a study of how the physics included in these radiation transport codes affects the solution. A baseline setup for forward modelling MgII in flares is presented and contrasted with approaches that add or remove complexity. It is shown for Mg II: (1) PRD is still required during flare simulations despite the increased densities, (2) using full angle-dependent PRD affects the solution but takes significantly longer to process a snapshot, (3) including Mg I in NLTE results in negligible differences to the Mg II lines but does affect the NUV quasi-continuum, (4) only hydrogen and Mg II need to be included in NLTE, (5) ideally the non-equilibrium hydrogen populations, with non-thermal collisional rates, should be used rather than the statistical equilibrium populations, (6) an atom consisting of only the ground state, h & k upper levels, and continuum level is insufficient to model the resonance lines, and (7) irradiation from a hot, dense flaring transition region can affect the formation of Mg II. We discuss modifications to the RH code allowing straightforward inclusion of transition region and coronal irradiation in flares.

Authors: Graham S. Kerr, Joel C. Allred & Mats Carlsson
Projects: IRIS

Publication Status: Accepted in ApJ
Last Modified: 2019-08-21 14:19
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Abstracts by Author
Solar Flare Arcade Modelling: Bridging the gap from 1D to 3D Simulations of Optically Thin Radiation
Modelling Mg II During Solar Flares. II. Non-equilibrium Effects
Modelling Mg II During Solar Flares, I: Partial Frequency Redistribution, Opacity, and Coronal Irradiation

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