The discovery of hard X-ray sources near the top of a flaring loop by the HXT instrument on board the YOHKOH satellite represents a significant progress towards the understanding of the basic processes driving solar flares. In this paper we extend the previous study of limb flares by Masuda (1994) by including all YOHKOH observations up through August 1998. We report that from October 1991 to August 1998, YOHKOH observed 20 X-ray bright limb flares (where we use the same selection criteria as Masuda), of which we have sufficient data to analyze 18 events, including 8 previously unanalyzed flares. Of these 18 events, 15 show detectable impulsive looptop emission. Considering that the finite dynamic range (about a decade) of the detection introduces a strong bias against observing comparatively weak looptop sources, we conclude that looptop emission is a common feature of all flares. We summarize the observations of the footpoint to looptop flux ratio and the spectral indices. We present light curves and images of all the important newly analyzed limb flares. Whenever possible we present results for individual pulses in multipeak flares and for different loops for multiloop flares. We then discuss the statistics of the fluxes and spectral indices of the looptop and footpoint sources taking into account observational selection biases. The importance of these observations (and those expected from the scheduled HESSI satellite with its superior angular spectral and temporal resolution) in constraining acceleration models and parameters is discussed briefly.
Authors: Vahé Petrosian, Timothy Q.
Donaghy & James M. McTiernan
Publication Status: accepted ApJ
Last Modified: 2001-12-13 14:24