Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract On July 5, 1980 the Hard X-Ray Imaging Spectrometer on board the Solar Maximum Mission observed a complex flare event starting at 22 : 32 UT from AR 2559 (Hale 16955), then at N 28 W 29, which developed finally into a 2-ribbon flare. In this paper we compare the X-ray images with Hα photographs taken at the Big Bear Solar Observatory and identify the site of the most energetic flare phenomena. During the early phases of the event the hard X-rays (〉16 keV) came from a compact source located near one of the two bright Hα kernels; we believe the latter are at the footpoints of a compact magnetic loop. The kernel identified with the X-ray source is immediately adjacent to one of the principal sunspots and in fact appears to ‘rotate’ around the sunspot over 90° in the early phase of the flare. Two intense X-ray bursts occur at the site of the rotating kernel, and following each burst the loop fills with hot, X-ray emitting plasma. If the first burst is interpreted as bremsstrahlung from a beam of electrons impinging on a collisionally dominated medium, the energy in such electrons, 〉16 keV, is ∼ 5 × 1030 erg. The altitude of the looptop is 7–10 × 103 km. The temperature structure of the flare is extremely non-homogeneous, and the highest temperatures are found in the top of the loop. A few minutes after the hard X-ray bursts the configuration of the region changes; some of the flare energy is transferred along a system of larger loops that now become the defining structure for a 2-ribbon flare, which is how the flare develops as seen in Hα. In the late, cooling phase of the flare 15 min after maximum, we find a significant component of the plasma at temperatures between 25 and 30 × 106 K.
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