Three-dimensional radio and X-ray modeling and data analysis software: Revealing flare complexity

Gelu Nita, Gregory Fleishman, Alexey A. Kuznetsov, Eduard P. Kontar, Dale Gary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Many problems in solar physics require analysis of imaging data obtained in multiple wavelength domains with differing spatial resolution in a framework supplied by advanced three-dimensional (3D) physical models. To facilitate this goal, we have undertaken a major enhancement of our IDL-based simulation tools developed earlier for modeling microwave and X-ray emission. The enhanced software architecture allows the user to (1) import photospheric magnetic field maps and perform magnetic field extrapolations to generate 3D magnetic field models; (2) investigate the magnetic topology by interactively creating field lines and associated flux tubes; (3) populate the flux tubes with user-defined nonuniform thermal plasma and anisotropic, nonuniform, nonthermal electron distributions; (4) investigate the spatial and spectral properties of radio and X-ray emission calculated from the model; and (5) compare the model-derived images and spectra with observational data. The package integrates shared-object libraries containing fast gyrosynchrotron emission codes, IDL-based soft and hard X-ray codes, and potential and linear force-free field extrapolation routines. The package accepts user-defined radiation and magnetic field extrapolation plug-ins. We use this tool to analyze a relatively simple single-loop flare and use the model to constrain the magnetic 3D structure and spatial distribution of the fast electrons inside this loop. We iteratively compute multi-frequency microwave and multi-energy X-ray images from realistic magnetic flux tubes obtained from pre-flare extrapolations, and compare them with imaging data obtained by SDO, NoRH, and RHESSI. We use this event to illustrate the tool's use for the general interpretation of solar flares to address disparate problems in solar physics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number236
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Methods: numerical
  • Sun: flares
  • Sun: radio radiation


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