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An Extreme Solar Event of 20 January 2005: Properties of the Flare and the Origin of Energetic Particles View all abstracts by submitter

Victor Grechnev   Submitted: 2008-06-30 03:14

The famous extreme solar and particle event of 20 January 2005 is analyzed from two perspectives. Firstly, using multi-spectral data, we study temporal, spectral, and spatial features of the main phase of the flare, when the strongest emissions from microwaves up to 200 MeV gamma-rays were observed. Secondly, we relate our results to a long-standing controversy on the origin of solar energetic particles (SEP) arriving at Earth, i.e., acceleration in flares, or shocks ahead of coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Our analysis shows that all electromagnetic emissions from microwaves up to 2.22 MeV line gamma-rays during the main flare phase originated within a compact structure located just above sunspot umbrae. In particular, a huge (~105 sfu) radio burst with a high frequency maximum at 30 GHz was observed, indicating the presence of a large number of energetic electrons in very strong magnetic fields. Thus, protons and electrons responsible for various flare emissions during its main phase were accelerated within the magnetic field of the active region. The leading, impulsive parts of the ground-level enhancement (GLE), and highest-energy gamma-rays identified with pi^0-decay emission, are similar and closely correspond in time. The origin of the pi^0-decay gamma-rays is argued to be the same as that of lower-energy emissions, although this is not proven. On the other hand, we estimate the sky-plane speed of the CME to be 2000-2600 km s-1, i.e., high, but of the same order as preceding non-GLE-related CMEs from the same active region. Hence, the flare itself rather than the CME appears to determine the extreme nature of this event. We therefore conclude that the acceleration, at least, to sub-relativistic energies, of electrons and protons, responsible for both the major flare emissions and the leading spike of SEP/GLE by 07 UT, are likely to have occurred nearly simultaneously within the flare region. However, our analysis does not rule out a probable contribution from particles accelerated in the CME-driven shock for the leading GLE spike, which seemed to dominate at later stages of the SEP event.

Authors: Grechnev, V. V., Kurt, V. G., Chertok, I. M., Uralov A. M. , Nakajima, H., Altyntsev A. T., Belov, A. V., Yushkov, B. Yu., Kuznetsov, S. N., Kashapova, L. K., Meshalkina, N. S., Prestage, N. P.

Publication Status: Solar Physics, v. 252(1), pp. 149-177, 2008, DOI: 10.1007/s11207-008-9245-1. The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com
Last Modified: 2009-09-02 00:05
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