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A remarkably narrow RHESSI x-ray flare on 2011 September 25

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-05, 12:47 authored by Brian R. Dennis, Anne K. Tolbert

The unusually narrow X-ray source imaged with the Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) during an impulsive spike lasting for ∼10 s during the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite C7.9 flare on 2011 September 25 (SOL2011-09-25T03:32) was only ∼2″ wide and ∼10″ long. Comparison with Helioseismsic and Magnetic Imager magnetograms and Atmospheric Imaging Assembly images at 1700 Å shows that the X-ray emission was primarily from a long ribbon in the region of positive polarity with little if any emission from the negative polarity ribbon. However, a thermal plasma source density of ∼1012 cm-3 estimated from the RHESSI-derived emission measure and source area showed that this could best be interpreted as a coronal hard X-ray source in which the accelerated electrons with energies less than ∼50 keV were stopped by Coulomb collisions in the corona, thus explaining the lack of the more usual bright X-ray footpoints. Analysis of RHESSI spectra shows greater consistency with a multi-temperature distribution and a low-energy cutoff to the accelerated electron spectrum of 22 keV compared to 12 keV if a single-temperature distribution is assumed. This leads to a change in the lower limit on the total energy in electrons by an order of magnitude, given the steepness of the best-fit electron spectrum with a power-law index of ∼6.



Astrophysical Journal


Astrophysical Journal, Volume 887, Issue 2, 20 December 2019, Article number 131.


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