Onset of electron acceleration in a flare loop

Ivan Sharykin, Siming Liu, Lyndsay Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

We carried out a detailed analysis of X-ray and radio observations of a simple flare loop that occurred on 2002 August 12, with the impulsive hard X-ray (HXR) light curves dominated by a single pulse. The emission spectra of the early impulsive phase are consistent with an isothermal model in the coronal loop with a temperature reaching several keV. A power-law high-energy spectral tail is evident near the HXR peak time, in accordance with the appearance of footpoints at high energies, and is well correlated with the radio emission. The energy content of the thermal component keeps increasing gradually after the disappearance of this nonthermal component. These results suggest that electron acceleration only covers the central period of a longer and more gradual energy dissipation process and that the electron transport within the loop plays a crucial role in the formation of the inferred power-law electron distribution. The spectral index of power-law photons shows a very gradual evolution, indicating that the electron accelerator is in a quasi-steady state, which is confirmed by radio observations. These results are consistent with the theory of stochastic electron acceleration from a thermal background. Advanced modeling with coupled electron acceleration and spatial transport processes is needed to explain these observations more quantitatively, which may reveal the dependence of the electron acceleration on the spatial structure of the acceleration region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number25
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume793
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 20 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • Sun: X-rays gamma rays
  • Sun: flares
  • Sun: radio radiation
  • acceleration of particles
  • plasmas
  • turbulence

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