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Footpoint Motion of the Continuum Emission in the 2002 September 30 White-Light Flare View all abstracts by submitter

Qingrong Chen   Submitted: 2005-12-21 05:50

We present observations of the 2002 September 30 white-light flare, in which the optical continuum emission near the Hα line is enhanced by ~10%. The continuum emission exhibits a close temporal and spatial coincidence with the hard X-ray (HXR) footpoint observed by RHESSI. We find a systematic motion of the flare footpoint seen in the continuum emission; the motion history follows roughly that of the HXR source. This gives strong evidence the this white-light flare is powered by heating of nonthermal electrons. We note that the HXR spectrum in 10-50 keV is quite soft with gamma being ~7 and there is no HXR emission above 50 keV. The magnetic configuration of the flaring region implies magnetic reconnection taking place at a relatively low altitude during the flare. Despite a very soft spectrum of the electron beam, its energy content is still sufficient to produce the heating in the lower atmosphere where the continuum emission originates. This white-light flare highlights the importance of radiative backwarming to transport the energy below when direct heating by beam electrons is obviously impossible.

Authors: Q. R. Chen, M. D. Ding
Projects: RHESSI

Publication Status: accepted for publication in ApJ
Last Modified: 2005-12-21 05:50
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