Microwave observations with exceptionally high spectral resolution are described for a set of 49 solar flares observed between May and October 1981. Total power data were obtained at 40 frequencies between 1 and 18 GHz by the Owens Valley frequency-agile interferometer with 10 s time resolution. Statistical analysis of this sample of microwave bursts established the following significant characteristics of their microwave spectra: (i) Most (≈ 80%) of the microwave events displayed complex spectra consisting of more than one component during some or all of their lifetime. Single spectral component bursts are rare. It is shown that the presence of more than one component can lead to significant errors when data with low spectral resolution are used to determine the low-side spectral index. (ii) The high-resolution data show that many bursts have a low-side spectral index that is larger than the maximum value of about 3 that might be expected from theory. Possible explanations include the effect of the underlying active region on the perceived burst spectrum and/or the necessity for more accurate calculations for bursts with low effective temperatures, (iii) the peak frequencies of the bursts are remarkably constant during their lifetimes. This is contrary to expectations based on simple models in which the source size and ambient field remain constant during the evolution of a burst.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science