Estimates of densities and filling factors from a cooling time analysis of solar microflares observed with RHESSI

Baylor, R.N., Cassak, P.A., Christe, S., Hannah, I.G. , Krucker, S., Mullan, D.J., Shay, M.A., Hudson, H.S. and Lin, R.P. (2011) Estimates of densities and filling factors from a cooling time analysis of solar microflares observed with RHESSI. Astrophysical Journal, 736(1), p. 75. (doi:10.1088/0004-637X/736/1/75)

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Abstract

We use more than 4500 microflares from the RHESSI microflare data set to estimate electron densities and volumetric filling factors of microflare loops using a cooling time analysis. We show that if the filling factor is assumed to be unity, the calculated conductive cooling times are much shorter than the observed flare decay times, which in turn are much shorter than the calculated radiative cooling times. This is likely unphysical, but the contradiction can be resolved by assuming that the radiative and conductive cooling times are comparable, which is valid when the flare loop temperature is a maximum and when external heating can be ignored. We find that resultant radiative and conductive cooling times are comparable to observed decay times, which has been used as an assumption in some previous studies. The inferred electron densities have a mean value of 1011.6 cm⁻³ and filling factors have a mean of 10–3.7. The filling factors are lower and densities are higher than previous estimates for large flares, but are similar to those found for two microflares by Moore et al.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:conduction, radiative transfer, Sun: activity, Sun: corona, Sun: flares
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hannah, Dr Iain and Hudson, Dr Hugh
Authors: Baylor, R.N., Cassak, P.A., Christe, S., Hannah, I.G., Krucker, S., Mullan, D.J., Shay, M.A., Hudson, H.S., and Lin, R.P.
Subjects:Q Science > QB Astronomy
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Astrophysical Journal
ISSN:0004-637X
Published Online:06 July 2011

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