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Particle Densities within the Acceleration Region of a Solar Flare View all abstracts by submitter

Säm Krucker   Submitted: 2013-10-31 10:35

The limb flare SOL2012-07-19T05:58 (M7.7) provides the best example of a non-thermal above-the-loop-top hard X-ray (HXR) source with simultaneous observations by the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) and the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) onboard the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO). By combining the two sets of observations, we present the first direct measurement of the thermal proton density and non-thermal electron density within the above-the-loop-top source where particle acceleration occurs. We find that both densities are of the same order of magnitude of a few times 1e9 cm-3, about 30 times lower than the density in the underlying thermal flare loops. The equal densities indicate that the entire electron population within the above-the-loop-top source is energized. While the derived densities depend on the unknown source depth and filling factor, the ratio of these two densities does not. Within the uncertainties, the ratio is one for a low energy cut-off of the non-thermal electron spectrum between 10 and 15 keV. RHESSI observations only constrain the cut-off energy to below ~15 keV, leaving the spectral shape of the electrons within the above-the-loop-top source at lower energies unknown. Nevertheless, these robust results strongly corroborate earlier findings that the above-the-loop-top source is the acceleration region where a bulk energization process acts on all electrons.

Authors: Sam Krucker, Marina Battaglia

Publication Status: in press
Last Modified: 2013-11-01 09:06
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