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Determination of Low-Energy Cutoffs and Total Energy of Nonthermal Electrons in a Solar Flare on 2002 April 15 View all abstracts by submitter

Linhui Sui   Submitted: 2005-03-09 08:28

The determination of the low-energy cutoff to the spectrum of accelerated electrons is decisive for the estimation of the total nonthermal energy in solar flares. Because thermal bremsstrahlung dominates the low-energy part of flare X-ray spectra, this cutoff energy is difficult to determine with spectral fitting alone. We have used a new method that combines spatial, spectral, and temporal analysis to determine the cut-off energy for the M1.2 flare observed with the Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) on 2002 April 15. A low-energy cutoff of 24~(pm2)~keV is required to ensure that the assumed thermal emissions always dominate over nonthermal emissions at low energies (< 20 keV) and that the spectral fitting results are consistent with the RHESSI light curves and images. With this cut-off energy, we obtain a total nonthermal energy in electrons of 1.6~(pm1) imes1030 ergs that is comparable to the peak energy in the thermal plasma, estimated from RHESSI observations to be 6 (pm0.6) imes1029 ergs assuming a filling factor of one.

Authors: Sui, L, Holman, G. D., Dennis, B. R.
Projects: RHESSI

Publication Status: ApJ (in press)
Last Modified: 2005-03-09 08:28
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