skip to main content

Title: NEW OBSERVATIONS OF THE SOLAR 0.5–5 KEV SOFT X-RAY SPECTRUM

The solar corona is orders of magnitude hotter than the underlying photosphere, but how the corona attains such high temperatures is still not understood. Soft X-ray (SXR) emission provides important diagnostics for thermal processes in the high-temperature corona, and is also an important driver of ionospheric dynamics at Earth. There is a crucial observational gap between ∼0.2 and ∼4 keV, outside the ranges of existing spectrometers. We present observations from a new SXR spectrometer, the Amptek X123-SDD, which measured the spatially integrated solar spectral irradiance from ∼0.5 to ∼5 keV, with ∼0.15 keV FWHM resolution, during sounding rocket flights on 2012 June 23 and 2013 October 21. These measurements show that the highly variable SXR emission is orders of magnitude greater than that during the deep minimum of 2009, even with only weak activity. The observed spectra show significant high-temperature (5–10 MK) emission and are well fit by simple power-law temperature distributions with indices of ∼6, close to the predictions of nanoflare models of coronal heating. Observations during the more active 2013 flight indicate an enrichment of low first-ionization potential elements of only ∼1.6, below the usually observed value of ∼4, suggesting that abundance variations may be related to coronalmore » heating processes. The XUV Photometer System Level 4 data product, a spectral irradiance model derived from integrated broadband measurements, significantly overestimates the spectra from both flights, suggesting a need for revision of its non-flare reference spectra, with important implications for studies of Earth ionospheric dynamics driven by solar SXRs.« less
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303 (United States)
  2. Space Science Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC 20375 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518823
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 802; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; EXTREME ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION; GAMMA RADIATION; IONIZATION POTENTIAL; KEV RANGE; PHOTOMETRY; PHOTOSPHERE; PLASMA; RADIANT FLUX DENSITY; SOFT X RADIATION; SOLAR CORONA; SOLAR FLARES; SOUND WAVES; SUN; TEMPERATURE DISTRIBUTION