Peak frequency dynamics in solar microwave bursts

V. F. Melnikov, Dale Gary, Gelu Nita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We analyze the dynamics of the broadband frequency spectrum of 338 microwave bursts observed in the years 2001-2002 with the Owens Valley Solar Array. A subset of 38 strong microwave bursts that show a single spectral maximum are studied in detail. Our main goal is to study changes in spectral peak frequency ν pk with time. We show that, for a majority of these simple bursts, the peak frequency shows a high positive correlation with flux density - it increases on the rise phase in ≈83% of 24 bursts where it could be cleanly measured, and decreases immediately after the peak time in ≈62% of 34 bursts. This behavior is in qualitative agreement with theoretical expectations based on gyrosynchrotron self-absorption. However, for a significant number of events (≈30-36%) the peak frequency variation is much smaller than expected from self-absorption, or may be entirely absent. The observed temporal behavior of ν pk is compared with a simple model of gyrosynchrotron radio emission. We show that the anomalous behavior is well accounted for by the effects of Razin suppression, and further show how an analysis of the temporal evolution of ν pk can be used to uniquely determine the relative importance of self-absorption and Razin suppression in a given burst. The analysis technique provides a new, quantitative diagnostic for the gyrosynchrotron component of solar microwave bursts. Applying this analysis technique to our sample of bursts, we find that in most of the bursts (60%) the spectral dynamics of ν pk around the time of peak flux density is caused by self-absorption. On the other hand, for a significant number of events (≈70%), the Razin effect may play the dominant role in defining the spectral peak and dynamics of ν pk, especially on the early rise phase and late decay phase of the bursts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-73
Number of pages31
JournalSolar Physics
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Flares: dynamics
  • Radio bursts: dynamic spectrum
  • Radio bursts: microwave


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