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Plasma heating in the very early and decay phases of solar flares

By R. Falewicz, M. Siarkowski and P. Rudawy


In this paper we analyze the energy budgets of two single-loop solar flares under the assumption that non-thermal electrons are the only source of plasma heating during all phases of both events. The flares were observed by the Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) on September 20, 2002 and March 17, 2002, respectively. For both investigated flares we derived the energy fluxes contained in non-thermal electron beams from the RHESSI observational data constrained by observed GOES light-curves. We showed that energy delivered by non-thermal electrons was fully sufficient to fulfil the energy budgets of the plasma during the pre-heating and impulsive phases of both flares as well as during the decay phase of one of them. We concluded that in the case of the investigated flares there was no need to use any additional ad-hoc heating mechanisms other than heating by non-thermal electrons.Comment: 22 pages, 10 figures, The Astrophysical Journal (accepted, March 2011

Topics: Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1088/0004-637X/733/1/37
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