Inverse Compton X-rays from relativistic flare electrons and positrons

MacKinnon, A.L. and Mallik, P.C.V. (2010) Inverse Compton X-rays from relativistic flare electrons and positrons. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 510(A29), (doi: 10.1051/0004-6361/200913190)



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<p><b>Context:</b> In solar flares, inverse Compton scattering (ICS) of photospheric photons might give rise to detectable hard X-ray photon fluxes from the corona where ambient densities are too low for significant bremsstrahlung or recombination. γ-ray lines and continuum in some large flares imply the presence of the necessary ~100 MeV electrons and positrons, the latter as by-products of GeV energy ions. Recent observations of coronal hard X-ray sources in particular prompt us to reconsider here the possible contribution of ICS.</p> <p><b>Aims:</b> We aim to evaluate the ICS X-ray fluxes to be expected from prescribed populations of relativistic electrons and positrons in the solar corona. The ultimate aim is to determine if ICS coronal X-ray sources might offer a new diagnostic window on relativistic electrons and ions in flares.</p> <p><b>Methods:</b> We use the complete formalism of ICS to calculate X-ray fluxes from possible populations of flare primary electrons and secondary positrons, paying attention to the incident photon angular distribution near the solar surface and thus improving on the assumption of isotropy made in previous solar discussions.</p> <p><b>Results:</b> Both primary electrons and secondary positrons produce very hard ICS X-ray spectra. The anisotropic primary radiation field results in pronounced centre-to-limb variation in predicted fluxes and spectra, with the most intense spectra, extending to the highest photon energies, expected from limb flares. Acceptable numbers of electrons or positrons could account for RHESSI coronal X/γ-ray sources.</p> <p><b>Conclusions:</b> Some coronal X-ray sources at least might be interpreted in terms of ICS by relativistic electrons or positrons, particularly when sources appear at such low ambient densities that bremsstrahlung appears implausible.</p>

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:MacKinnon, Dr Alexander and Mallik, Mr Procheta
Authors: MacKinnon, A.L., and Mallik, P.C.V.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Astronomy and Astrophysics
Publisher:EDP Sciences
ISSN (Online):1432-0746
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2010 EDP Sciences
First Published:First published in Astronomy and Astrophysics 510(A29)
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
465931Solar, stellar and cosmological plasmas: a synthesis of data, modelling and theory.Declan DiverScience & Technologies Facilities Council (STFC)ST/F002149/1Physics and Astronomy