The formation of kappa-distribution accelerated electron populations in solar flares

Bian, N. H., Emslie, A. G., Stackhouse, D. J. and Kontar, E. P. (2014) The formation of kappa-distribution accelerated electron populations in solar flares. Astrophysical Journal, 796(2), 142. (doi:10.1088/0004-637X/796/2/142)

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Abstract

Driven by recent RHESSI observations of confined loop-top hard X-ray sources in solar flares, we consider stochastic acceleration of electrons in the presence of Coulomb collisions. If electron escape from the acceleration region can be neglected, the electron distribution function is determined by a balance between diffusive acceleration and collisions. Such a scenario admits a stationary solution for the electron distribution function that takes the form of a kappa distribution. We show that the evolution toward this kappa distribution involves a "wave front" propagating forward in velocity space, so that electrons of higher energy are accelerated later; the acceleration timescales with energy according to τacc ~ E 3/2. At sufficiently high energies escape from the finite-length acceleration region will eventually dominate. For such energies, the electron velocity distribution function is obtained by solving a time-dependent Fokker-Planck equation in the "leaky-box" approximation. Solutions are obtained in the limit of a small escape rate from an acceleration region that can effectively be considered a thick target.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kontar, Dr Eduard and Bian, Dr Nicolas Horace
Authors: Bian, N. H., Emslie, A. G., Stackhouse, D. J., and Kontar, E. P.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Astrophysical Journal
Publisher:Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd.
ISSN:0004-637X
ISSN (Online):1538-4357
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