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Title: Bridging High-density Electron Beam Coronal Transport and Deep Chromospheric Heating in Stellar Flares

The optical and near-ultraviolet (NUV) continuum radiation in M-dwarf flares is thought to be the impulsive response of the lower stellar atmosphere to magnetic energy release and electron acceleration at coronal altitudes. This radiation is sometimes interpreted as evidence of a thermal photospheric spectrum withT≈ 104K. However, calculations show that standard solar flare coronal electron beams lose their energy in a thick target of gas in the upper and middle chromosphere (log10column mass/[g cm−2] ≲ −3). At larger beam injection fluxes, electric fields and instabilities are expected to further inhibit propagation to low altitudes. We show that recent numerical solutions of the time-dependent equations governing the power-law electrons and background coronal plasma (Langmuir and ion-acoustic) waves from Kontar et al. produce order-of-magnitude larger heating rates than those that occur in the deep chromosphere through standard solar flare electron beam power-law distributions. We demonstrate that the redistribution of beam energy aboveE≳ 100 keV in this theory results in a local heating maximum that is similar to a radiative-hydrodynamic model with a large, low-energy cutoff and a hard power-law index. We use this semiempirical forward-modeling approach to produce opaque NUV and optical continua at gas temperaturesT≳ 12,000 K over the deep chromosphere with log10column mass/[g cm−2] of −1.2 to −2.3. These models explain the color temperatures and Balmer jump strengths in high-cadence M-dwarf flare observations, and they clarify the relation among atmospheric, radiation, and optical color temperatures in stellar flares.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
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Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Medium: X Size: Article No. L23
["Article No. L23"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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