Decimetric spike bursts versus microwave continuum

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We analyze properties of decimetric spike bursts occurring simultaneously with microwave gyrosynchrotron continuum bursts. We found that all of the accompanying microwave bursts were highly polarized in the optically thin range. The sense of polarization of the spike clusters is typically the same as that of the optically thin gyrosynchrotron emission, implying preferential extraordinary wave-mode spike polarization. Optically thick spectral indices of the continuum in spike-producing events were not observed to be larger than 2.5, suggesting low or absent Razin suppression. This implies that the plasma frequency-to-gyrofrequency ratio is systematically lower in the spike-producing bursts than in other bursts. The spike cluster flux density is found to be tightly correlated with the high-frequency spectral index of the microwave continuum for each event, while the flux-to-flux correlation may not be present. We discovered strong evidence that the trapped fast electrons producing the microwave gyrosynchrotron continuum have an anisotropic pitch-angle distribution of the loss cone type in the spike-producing bursts. The spike clusters are mainly generated when the trapped electrons have the hardest and the most anisotropic distributions. The new properties are discussed against the currently available ideas about emission processes and models for spike generation. We conclude that the findings strongly support the electron cyclotron maser mechanism of spike emission, with characteristics agreeing with expectations from the local-trap model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-580
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Aug 10 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Acceleration of particles
  • Sun: flares
  • Sun: particle emission
  • Sun: radio radiation


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