Departure of high temperature iron lines from the equilibrium state in flaring solar plasmas

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Abstract

The aim of this study is to clarify if the assumption of ionization equilibrium and a Maxwellian electron energy distribution is valid in flaring solar plasmas. We analyze the 2014 December 20 X1.8 flare, in which the \ion{Fe}{xxi} 187~\AA, \ion{Fe}{xxii} 253~\AA, \ion{Fe}{xxiii} 263~\AA\ and \ion{Fe}{xxiv} 255~\AA\ emission lines were simultaneously observed by the EUV Imaging Spectrometer onboard the Hinode satellite. Intensity ratios among these high temperature Fe lines are compared and departures from isothermal conditions and ionization equilibrium examined. Temperatures derived from intensity ratios involving these four lines show significant discrepancies at the flare footpoints in the impulsive phase, and at the looptop in the gradual phase. Among these, the temperature derived from the \ion{Fe}{xxii}/\ion{Fe}{xxiv} intensity ratio is the lowest, which cannot be explained if we assume a Maxwellian electron distribution and ionization equilibrium, even in the case of a multi-thermal structure. This result suggests that the assumption of ionization equilibrium and/or a Maxwellian electron energy distribution can be violated in evaporating solar plasma around 10MK.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Volume826
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

10 pages, 4 figures, to appear in ApJ

Keywords

  • astro-ph.SR

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