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Study of White-Light Flares Observed by Hinode View all abstracts by submitter

Haimin Wang   Submitted: 2008-12-03 07:39

White-light flares are considered as the most energetic flaring events that are observable in optical broad-band continuum of solar spectrum. They have not been commonly observed. Observations of white-light flares with sub-arcsecond resolution have been very rare. The continuous high resolution observations of Hinode provide an unique opportunity to systematically study the white-light flares with a spatial resolution around 0.2 arcsec. We surveyed all the flares above GOES magnitude C5.0 since the launch of Hinode in 2006 October, 13 of them were covered by Hinode G-band observations. We analyzed the peak contrast and equivalent area (calculated via integrated excess emission contrast) of these flares as a function of GOES X-ray flux, and found that the cut-off visibility is likely around M1 flares under the observing limit of Hinode. Many other observational and physical factors should affect the visibility of white-light flares; as the observing conditions are improved, smaller flares are likely to have detectable white-light emissions. We are cautious that this limit visibility is an overestimate, as G-band observations contains emissions from upper atmosphere. Among 13 events analyzed, only the M8.7 flare of 2007 June 4 had near-simultaneous observations in both G-band and blue continuum. The blue continuum had a peak contrast of 94% vs. 175% in G-band for this event. The equivalent area in blue continuum is an order of magnitude lower than that in G-band. Very recently, Jess et al. studied a C2.0 flare with a peak contrast of 300% in blue continuum. Comparing to the events presented in this Letter, that event is probably a unusual white-light flare: a very small kernel with a large contrast that can be detected in high resolution observations.

Authors: Haimin Wang
Projects: Hinode/SOT

Publication Status: Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics, 2009, in press
Last Modified: 2008-12-03 13:24
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