Electron-electron bremsstrahlung emission and the inference of electron flux spectra in solar flares

Kontar, E.P., Emslie, A.G., Massone, A.M., Piana, M., Brown, J.C. and Prato, M. (2007) Electron-electron bremsstrahlung emission and the inference of electron flux spectra in solar flares. Astrophysical Journal, 670(1), pp. 857-861. (doi:10.1086/521977)

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Abstract

Although both electron-ion and electron-electron bremsstrahlung contribute to the hard X-ray emission from solar flares, the latter is normally ignored. Such anomission is not justified at electron (and photon) energies above ∼300 keV, and inclusion of the additional electron-electron bremsstrahlung in general makes the electron spectrum required to produce a given hard X-ray spectrum steeper at high energies. Unlike electron-ion bremsstrahlung, electron-electron bremsstrahlung cannot produce photons of all energies up to the electron energy involved. Themaximum possible photon energy depends on the angle between the direction of the emitting electron and the emitted photon, and this suggests a diagnostic for an upper cutoff energy and/or for the degree of beaming of the accelerated electrons. We analyze the large event of 2005 January 17 and show that the upward break around 400 keVin the observed hard X-ray spectrum is naturally accounted for by the inclusion of electron-electron bremsstrahlung. Indeed, the mean source electron spectrum recovered through a regularized inversion of the hard X-ray spectrum, using a cross section that includes both electronion and electron-electron terms, has a relatively constant spectral index δ over the range from electron kinetic energy <i>E</i> = 200 keV to <i>E</i> = 1 MeV. Such a spectrum is indicative of an acceleration mechanism without a characteristic energy or corresponding scale.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Sun: flares, sun: X-rays, gamma rays.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kontar, Professor Eduard and Brown, Professor John and Piana, Professor Michele and Massone, Dr Anna
Authors: Kontar, E.P., Emslie, A.G., Massone, A.M., Piana, M., Brown, J.C., and Prato, M.
Subjects:Q Science > QB Astronomy
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Astrophysical Journal
ISSN:0004-637X
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