This paper reports on the re-analysis of solar flares in which the hard X-rays (HXRs) come predominantly from the corona rather than from the more usual chromospheric footpoints. All of the 26 previously analyzed event time intervals, over 13 flares, are re-examined for consistency with a flare model in which electrons are accelerated near the top of a magnetic loop which has a sufficiently high density to stop most of the electrons by Coulomb collisions before they can reach the footpoints. Of particular importance in the previous analysis was the finding that the length of the coronal HXR source increased with energy in the 20-30 keV range. However, after allowing for the possibility that footpoint emission at the higher energies affects the inferred length of the coronal HXR source, and using analysis techniques that suppress the possible influence of such footpoint emission, we conclude that there is no longer evidence that the length of the HXR coronal sources increase with increasing energy. In fact, for the six flares and 12 time intervals that satisfied our selection criteria, the loop lengths decreased on average by 1.0 ± 0.2 arcsec between 20 and 30 keV, with a standard deviation of 3.5 arcsec. We find strong evidence that the peak of the coronal HXR source increases in altitude with increasing energy. For the thermal component of the emission, this is consistent with the standard CHSKP flare model in which magnetic reconnection in a coronal current sheet results in new hot loops being formed at progressively higher altitudes. The explanation for the nonthermal emission is not so clear.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science
- Sun: X-rays, gamma rays
- Sun: flares