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  1. Abstract

    Flare-associated quasiperiodic pulsations (QPPs) in radio and X-ray wavelengths, particularly those related to nonthermal electrons, contain important information about the energy release and transport processes during flares. However, the paucity of spatially resolved observations of such QPPs with a fast time cadence has been an obstacle for us to further understand their physical nature. Here, we report observations of such a QPP event that occurred during the impulsive phase of a C1.8-class eruptive solar flare using radio imaging spectroscopy data from the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and complementary X-ray imaging and spectroscopy data. The radio QPPs, observed by the VLA in the 1–2 GHz with a subsecond cadence, are shown as three spatially distinct sources with different physical characteristics. Two radio sources are located near the conjugate footpoints of the erupting magnetic flux rope with opposite senses of polarization. One of the sources displays a QPP behavior with a ∼5 s period. The third radio source, located at the top of the postflare arcade, coincides with the location of an X-ray source and shares a similar period of ∼25–45 s. We show that the two oppositely polarized radio sources are likely due to coherent electron cyclotronmore »maser emission. On the other hand, the looptop QPP source, observed in both radio and X-rays, is consistent with incoherent gyrosynchrotron and bremsstrahlung emission, respectively. We conclude that the concurrent, but spatially distinct QPP sources must involve multiple mechanisms which operate in different magnetic loop systems and at different periods.

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  2. Abstract Solar flares, driven by prompt release of free magnetic energy in the solar corona 1,2 , are known to accelerate a substantial portion (ten per cent or more) 3,4 of available electrons to high energies. Hard X-rays, produced by high-energy electrons accelerated in the flare 5 , require a high ambient density for their detection. This restricts the observed volume to denser regions that do not necessarily sample the entire volume of accelerated electrons 6 . Here we report evolving spatially resolved distributions of thermal and non-thermal electrons in a solar flare derived from microwave observations that show the true extent of the acceleration region. These distributions show a volume filled with only (or almost only) non-thermal electrons while being depleted of the thermal plasma, implying that all electrons have experienced a prominent acceleration there. This volume is isolated from a surrounding, more typical flare plasma of mainly thermal particles with a smaller proportion of non-thermal electrons. This highly efficient acceleration happens in the same volume in which the free magnetic energy is being released 2 .
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 23, 2023
  3. Abstract A number of double coronal X-ray sources have been observed during solar flares by RHESSI, where the two sources reside at different sides of the inferred reconnection site. However, where and how these X-ray-emitting electrons are accelerated remains unclear. Here we present the first model of the double coronal hard X-ray (HXR) sources, where electrons are accelerated by a pair of termination shocks driven by bidirectional fast reconnection outflows. We model the acceleration and transport of electrons in the flare region by numerically solving the Parker transport equation using velocity and magnetic fields from the macroscopic magnetohydrodynamic simulation of a flux rope eruption. We show that electrons can be efficiently accelerated by the termination shocks and high-energy electrons mainly concentrate around the two shocks. The synthetic HXR emission images display two distinct sources extending to >100 keV below and above the reconnection region, with the upper source much fainter than the lower one. The HXR energy spectra of the two coronal sources show similar spectral slopes, consistent with the observations. Our simulation results suggest that the flare termination shock can be a promising particle acceleration mechanism in explaining the double-source nonthermal emissions in solar flares.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  4. Abstract Extreme-ultraviolet late phase (ELP) refers to the second extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) radiation enhancement observed in certain solar flares, which usually occurs tens of minutes to several hours after the peak of soft X-ray emission. The coronal loop system that hosts the ELP emission is often different from the main flaring arcade, and the enhanced EUV emission therein may imply an additional heating process. However, the origin of the ELP remains rather unclear. Here we present the analysis of a C1.4 flare that features such an ELP, which is also observed in microwave wavelengths by the Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array. Similar to the case of the ELP, we find a gradual microwave enhancement that occurs about 3 minutes after the main impulsive phase microwave peaks. Radio sources coincide with both foot points of the ELP loops and spectral fits on the time-varying microwave spectra demonstrate a clear deviation of the electron distribution from the Maxwellian case, which could result from injected nonthermal electrons or nonuniform heating to the footpoint plasma. We further point out that the delayed microwave enhancement suggests the presence of an additional heating process, which could be responsible for the evaporation of heated plasma that fills themore »ELP loops, producing the prolonged ELP emission.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  6. Abstract Even small solar flares can display a surprising level of complexity regarding their morphology and temporal evolution. Many of their properties, such as energy release and electron acceleration can be studied using highly complementary observations at X-ray and radio wavelengths. We present X-ray observations from the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager and radio observations from the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) of a series of GOES A3.4–B1.6 class flares observed on 2013 April 23. The flares, as seen in X-ray and extreme ultraviolet, originated from multiple locations within active region NOAA 11726. A veritable zoo of different radio emissions between 1 GHz and 2 GHz was observed cotemporally with the X-ray flares. In addition to broadband continuum emission, broadband short-lived bursts and narrowband spikes, indicative of accelerated electrons, were observed. However, these sources were located up to 150″ away from the flaring X-ray sources but only some of these emissions could be explained as signatures of electrons that were accelerated near the main flare site. For other sources, no obvious magnetic connection to the main flare site could be found. These emissions likely originate from secondary acceleration sites triggered by the flare, but may bemore »due to reconnection and acceleration completely unrelated to the cotemporally observed flare. Thanks to the extremely high sensitivity of the VLA, not achieved with current X-ray instrumentation, it is shown that particle acceleration happens frequently and at multiple locations within a flaring active region.« less
  7. Abstract

    Magnetic flux ropes are the centerpiece of solar eruptions. Direct measurements for the magnetic field of flux ropes are crucial for understanding the triggering and energy release processes, yet they remain heretofore elusive. Here we report microwave imaging spectroscopy observations of an M1.4-class solar flare that occurred on 2017 September 6, using data obtained by the Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array. This flare event is associated with a partial eruption of a twisted filament observed in Hαby the Goode Solar Telescope at the Big Bear Solar Observatory. The extreme ultraviolet (EUV) and X-ray signatures of the event are generally consistent with the standard scenario of eruptive flares, with the presence of double flare ribbons connected by a bright flare arcade. Intriguingly, this partial eruption event features a microwave counterpart, whose spatial and temporal evolution closely follow the filament seen in Hαand EUV. The spectral properties of the microwave source are consistent with nonthermal gyrosynchrotron radiation. Using spatially resolved microwave spectral analysis, we derive the magnetic field strength along the filament spine, which ranges from 600 to 1400 Gauss from its apex to the legs. The results agree well with the nonlinear force-free magnetic model extrapolated from the preflare photosphericmore »magnetogram. We conclude that the microwave counterpart of the erupting filament is likely due to flare-accelerated electrons injected into the filament-hosting magnetic flux rope cavity following the newly reconnected magnetic field lines.

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  8. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  9. ABSTRACT

    We use FIRE simulations to study disc formation in z ∼ 0, Milky Way-mass galaxies, and conclude that a key ingredient for the formation of thin stellar discs is the ability for accreting gas to develop an aligned angular momentum distribution via internal cancellation prior to joining the galaxy. Among galaxies with a high fraction ($\gt 70{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$) of their young stars in a thin disc (h/R ∼ 0.1), we find that: (i) hot, virial-temperature gas dominates the inflowing gas mass on halo scales (≳20 kpc), with radiative losses offset by compression heating; (ii) this hot accretion proceeds until angular momentum support slows inward motion, at which point the gas cools to $\lesssim 10^4\, {\rm K}$; (iii) prior to cooling, the accreting gas develops an angular momentum distribution that is aligned with the galaxy disc, and while cooling transitions from a quasi-spherical spatial configuration to a more-flattened, disc-like configuration. We show that the existence of this ‘rotating cooling flow’ accretion mode is strongly correlated with the fraction of stars forming in a thin disc, using a sample of 17 z ∼ 0 galaxies spanning a halo mass range of 1010.5 M⊙ ≲ Mh ≲ 1012 M⊙ and stellarmore »mass range of 108 M⊙ ≲ M⋆ ≲ 1011 M⊙. Notably, galaxies with a thick disc or irregular morphology do not undergo significant angular momentum alignment of gas prior to accretion and show no correspondence between halo gas cooling and flattening. Our results suggest that rotating cooling flows (or, more generally, rotating subsonic flows) that become coherent and angular momentum-supported prior to accretion on to the galaxy are likely a necessary condition for the formation of thin, star-forming disc galaxies in a ΛCDM universe.

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