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  1. Abstract We present the first survey of quiet Sun features observed in hard X-rays (HXRs), using the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope ARray (NuSTAR), a HXR focusing optics telescope. The recent solar minimum, combined with NuSTAR’s high sensitivity, has presented a unique opportunity to perform the first HXR imaging spectroscopy on a range of features in the quiet Sun. By studying the HXR emission of these features, we can detect or constrain the presence of high temperature (> 5 MK) or non-thermal sources, to help understand how they relate to larger, more energetic solar phenomena, and determine their contribution to heating the solar atmosphere. We report on several features observed in the 28 September 2018 NuSTAR full-disk quiet Sun mosaics, the first of the NuSTAR quiet Sun observing campaigns, which mostly include steady features of X-ray bright points and an emerging flux region, which later evolved into an active region, as well as a short-lived jet. We find that the features’ HXR spectra are well fitted with isothermal models with temperatures ranging between 2.0 – 3.2 MK. Combining the NuSTAR data with softer X-ray emission from Hinode/XRT and EUV from SDO/AIA, we recover the differential emission measures, confirming little significant emission above 4 MK. The NuSTAR HXR spectra allow us to constrain the possible non-thermal emission that would still be consistent with a null HXR detection. We found that for only one of the features (the jet) was there a potential non-thermal upper limit capable of powering the heating observed. However, even here, the non-thermal electron distribution had to be very steep (effectively mono-energetic) with a low energy cut-off between 3 – 4 keV. 
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  2. Abstract

    We report on the mountain top observation of three terrestrial gamma‐ray flashes (TGFs) that occurred during the summer storm season of 2021. To our knowledge, these are the first TGFs observed in a mountaintop environment and the first published European TGFs observed from the ground. A gamma‐ray sensitive detector was located at the base of the Säntis Tower in Switzerland and observed three unique TGF events with coincident radio sferic data characteristic of TGFs seen from space. We will show an example of a “slow pulse” radio signature (Cummer et al., 2011,; Lu et al., 2011,; Pu et al., 2019,; Pu et al., 2020,, a −EIP (Lyu et al., 2016,; Lyu et al., 2021,; Wada et al., 2020,, and a double peak TGF associated with an extraordinarily powerful and complicated positive‐polarity sferic, where each TGF peak is possibly preceded by a short burst of stepped leader emission.

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  3. Abstract

    We provide an updated analysis of the gamma ray signature of a terrestrial gamma ray flash (TGF) detected by the Fermi Gamma ray Burst Monitor first reported by Pu et al. (2020, A TGF produced 3 ms prior to a negative cloud‐to‐ground return stroke was close to simultaneous with an isolated low‐frequency radio pulse during the leader’s propagation, with a polarity indicating downward moving negative charge. In previous observations, this “slow” low‐frequency signal has been strongly correlated with upward‐directed (opposite polarity) TGF events (Pu et al., 2019,; Cummer et al., 2011,, leading the authors to conclude that the Fermi gamma ray observation is actually the result of a reverse positron beam generating upward‐directed gamma rays. We investigate the feasibility of this scenario and determine a lower limit on the luminosity of the downward TGF from the perspective of gamma ray timing uncertainties, TGF Monte Carlo simulations, and meteorological analysis of a model storm cell and its possible charge structure altitudes. We determined that the most likely source altitude of the TGF reverse beam was 7.5 km ± 2.6 km, just below an estimated negative charge center at 8 km. At that altitude, the Monte Carlo simulations indicate a lower luminosity limit of 2 × 1018photons above 1 MeV for the main downward beam of the TGF, making the reverse beam detectable by the Fermi Gamma ray Burst Monitor.

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  4. Abstract

    We observed two Terrestrial Gamma‐ray Flashes (TGFs) in Uchinada, Japan associated with negative cloud‐to‐ground lightning strokes exactly 1 year apart on 18 December 2020 and 2021. The events were remarkable for their lateral distance from the associated strokes—each about 5 km away from the detector site. Not only was that lateral distance remarkable on its own for a ground based detection, but the low‐altitude profile of winter thunderstorms in Japan would suggest the detections occurred at unprecedented nadir angles—73.3° off axis for the 2020 event with the standard assumption of a vertically oriented TGF. Unsurprisingly, Monte Carlo simulations of the straightforward interpretation of these events yield fluences 2 orders of magnitude lower than observed data. We investigate a variety of ways to attempt to resolve the contradiction between expected and observed behavior.

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  5. Abstract

    The hippocampus is critical for contextual memory and has recently been implicated in various kinds of social memory. Traditionally, studies of hippocampal context coding have manipulated elements of the background environment, such as the shape and color of the apparatus. These manipulations produce large shifts in the spatial firing patterns, a phenomenon known as remapping. These findings suggest that the hippocampus encodes and differentiates contexts by generating unique spatial firing patterns for each environment a subject encounters. However, we do not know whether the hippocampus encodes social contexts defined by the presence of particular conspecifics. We examined this by exposing rats to a series of manipulations of the social context, including the presence of familiar male, unfamiliar male and female conspecifics, in order to determine whether remapping is a plausible mechanism for encoding socially‐defined contexts. Because the dorsal and ventral regions of the hippocampus are thought to play different roles in spatial and social cognition, we recorded neurons in both regions. Surprisingly, we found little evidence of remapping in response to manipulation of the social context in either the dorsal or ventral hippocampus, although we saw typical remapping in response to changing the background color. This result suggests that remapping is not the primary mechanism for encoding different social contexts. However, we found that a subset of hippocampal neurons fired selectively near the cages that contained the conspecifics, and these responses were most prevalent in the ventral hippocampus. We also found a striking increase in the spatial information content of ventral hippocampal firing patterns. These results indicate that the ventral hippocampus is sensitive to changes in the social context and neurons that respond selectively near the conspecific cages could play an important, if not fully understood role in encoding the conjunction of conspecifics, their location and the environment.

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  6. ABSTRACT We investigate the spatial, temporal, and spectral properties of 10 microflares from AR12721 on 2018 September 9 and 10 observed in X-rays using the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope ARray and the Solar Dynamic Observatory’s Atmospheric Imaging Assembly and Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager. We find GOES sub-A class equivalent microflare energies of 1026–1028 erg reaching temperatures up to 10 MK with consistent quiescent or hot active region (AR) core plasma temperatures of 3–4 MK. One microflare (SOL2018-09-09T10:33), with an equivalent GOES class of A0.1, has non-thermal hard X-ray emission during its impulsive phase (of non-thermal power ∼7 × 1024 erg s−1) making it one of the faintest X-ray microflares to have direct evidence for accelerated electrons. In 4 of the 10 microflares, we find that the X-ray time profile matches fainter and more transient sources in the extreme-ultraviolet, highlighting the need for observations sensitive to only the hottest material that reaches temperatures higher than those of the AR core (>5 MK). Evidence for corresponding photospheric magnetic flux cancellation/emergence present at the footpoints of eight microflares is also observed. 
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  7. null (Ed.)