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Title: NuSTAR Hard X-Ray Observation of a Sub-A Class Solar Flare

Abstract

We report a Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array ( NuSTAR ) observation of a solar microflare, SOL2015-09-01T04. Although it was too faint to be observed by the GOES X-ray Sensor, we estimate the event to be an A0.1 class flare in brightness. This microflare, with only ∼5 counts s{sup −1} detector{sup −1} observed by the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager ( RHESSI ), is fainter than any hard X-ray (HXR) flare in the existing literature. The microflare occurred during a solar pointing by the highly sensitive NuSTAR astrophysical observatory, which used its direct focusing optics to produce detailed HXR microflare spectra and images. The microflare exhibits HXR properties commonly observed in larger flares, including a fast rise and more gradual decay, earlier peak time with higher energy, spatial dimensions similar to the RHESSI microflares, and a high-energy excess beyond an isothermal spectral component during the impulsive phase. The microflare is small in emission measure, temperature, and energy, though not in physical size; observations are consistent with an origin via the interaction of at least two magnetic loops. We estimate the increase in thermal energy at the time of the microflare to be 2.4 × 10{sup 27} erg. The observationmore » suggests that flares do indeed scale down to extremely small energies and retain what we customarily think of as “flare-like” properties.« less

Authors:
 [1]; ;  [2];  [3];  [4];  [5]; ;  [6]
  1. School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (United States)
  2. Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley (United States)
  3. SUPA School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, Glasgow (United Kingdom)
  4. Cahill Center for Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (United States)
  5. Air Force Research Laboratory, Albuquerque (United States)
  6. Santa Cruz Institute of Particle Physics and Department of Physics, University of California at Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22663231
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 845; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTROPHYSICS; BRIGHTNESS; EMISSION; GAMMA RADIATION; HARD X RADIATION; INTERACTIONS; OPTICS; SENSORS; SOLAR FLARES; SPECTRA; SUN; TELESCOPES

Citation Formats

Glesener, Lindsay, Krucker, Säm, Hudson, Hugh, Hannah, Iain G., Grefenstette, Brian W., White, Stephen M., Smith, David M., and Marsh, Andrew J.. NuSTAR Hard X-Ray Observation of a Sub-A Class Solar Flare. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/AA80E9.
Glesener, Lindsay, Krucker, Säm, Hudson, Hugh, Hannah, Iain G., Grefenstette, Brian W., White, Stephen M., Smith, David M., & Marsh, Andrew J.. NuSTAR Hard X-Ray Observation of a Sub-A Class Solar Flare. United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/AA80E9.
Glesener, Lindsay, Krucker, Säm, Hudson, Hugh, Hannah, Iain G., Grefenstette, Brian W., White, Stephen M., Smith, David M., and Marsh, Andrew J.. Sun . "NuSTAR Hard X-Ray Observation of a Sub-A Class Solar Flare". United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/AA80E9.
@article{osti_22663231,
title = {NuSTAR Hard X-Ray Observation of a Sub-A Class Solar Flare},
author = {Glesener, Lindsay and Krucker, Säm and Hudson, Hugh and Hannah, Iain G. and Grefenstette, Brian W. and White, Stephen M. and Smith, David M. and Marsh, Andrew J.},
abstractNote = {We report a Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array ( NuSTAR ) observation of a solar microflare, SOL2015-09-01T04. Although it was too faint to be observed by the GOES X-ray Sensor, we estimate the event to be an A0.1 class flare in brightness. This microflare, with only ∼5 counts s{sup −1} detector{sup −1} observed by the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager ( RHESSI ), is fainter than any hard X-ray (HXR) flare in the existing literature. The microflare occurred during a solar pointing by the highly sensitive NuSTAR astrophysical observatory, which used its direct focusing optics to produce detailed HXR microflare spectra and images. The microflare exhibits HXR properties commonly observed in larger flares, including a fast rise and more gradual decay, earlier peak time with higher energy, spatial dimensions similar to the RHESSI microflares, and a high-energy excess beyond an isothermal spectral component during the impulsive phase. The microflare is small in emission measure, temperature, and energy, though not in physical size; observations are consistent with an origin via the interaction of at least two magnetic loops. We estimate the increase in thermal energy at the time of the microflare to be 2.4 × 10{sup 27} erg. The observation suggests that flares do indeed scale down to extremely small energies and retain what we customarily think of as “flare-like” properties.},
doi = {10.3847/1538-4357/AA80E9},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal},
number = 2,
volume = 845,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Aug 20 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Sun Aug 20 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}