Spatiotemporal Energy Partitioning in a Nonthermally Dominated Two-loop Solar Flare

Galina G. Motorina, Gregory D. Fleishman, Eduard P. Kontar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Solar flares show remarkable variety in the energy partitioning between thermal and nonthermal components. Those with a prominent nonthermal component but only a modest thermal one are particularly well suited for study of the direct effect of the nonthermal electrons on plasma heating. Here, we analyze such a well-observed, impulsive single-spike nonthermal event, a solar flare SOL2013-11-05T035054, where the plasma heating can be entirely attributed to the energy losses of these impulsively accelerated electrons. Evolution of the energy budget of thermal and nonthermal components during the flare is analyzed using X-ray, microwave, and EUV observations and three-dimensional modeling. The results suggest that (i) the flare geometry is consistent with a two-loop morphology and the magnetic energy is likely released due to interaction between these two loops; (ii) the released magnetic energy is converted to the nonthermal energy of accelerated electrons only, which is subsequently converted to the thermal energy of the plasma; (iii) the energy is partitioned in these two flaring loops in comparable amounts; (iv) one of these flaring loops remained relatively tenuous but rather hot, while the other remained relatively cool but denser than the first. Therefore, this solar flare demonstrates an extreme efficiency of conversion of the free magnetic energy to the nonthermal energy of particle acceleration and the flow of energy into two loops from the nonthermal component to the thermal one with negligible direct heating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number75
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 10 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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