Data-constrained 3D Modeling of a Solar Flare Evolution: Acceleration, Transport, Heating, and Energy Budget

Gregory D. Fleishman, Gelu M. Nita, Galina G. Motorina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Solar flares are driven by the release of free magnetic energy and its conversion to other forms of energy - kinetic, thermal, and nonthermal. Quantification of partitions between these energy components and their evolution is needed to understand the solar flare phenomenon including nonthermal particle acceleration, transport, and escape as well as the thermal plasma heating and cooling. The challenge of remote-sensing diagnostics is that the data are taken with finite spatial resolution and suffer from line-of-sight (LOS) ambiguity including cases when different flaring loops overlap and project one over the other. Here, we address this challenge by devising a data-constrained evolving 3D model of a multiloop SOL2014-02-16T064620 solar flare of GOES class C1.5. Specifically, we employed a 3D magnetic model validated earlier for a single time frame and extended it to cover the entire flare evolution. For each time frame we adjusted the distributions of the thermal plasma and nonthermal electrons in the model so that the observables synthesized from the model matched the observations. Once the evolving model had been validated in this way, we computed and investigated the evolving energy components and other relevant parameters by integrating over the model volume. This approach removes the LOS ambiguity and permits us to disentangle contributions from the overlapping loops. It reveals new facets of electron acceleration and transport as well as of the heating and cooling of the flare plasma in 3D. We find signatures of substantial direct heating of the flare plasma not associated with the energy loss of nonthermal electrons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number174
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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