On the Performance of Multi-Instrument Solar Flare Observations During Solar Cycle 24

Ryan O. Milligan, Jack Ireland

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The current fleet of space-based solar observatories offers us a wealth of opportunities to study solar flares over a range of wavelengths. Significant advances in our understanding of flare physics often come from coordinated observations between multiple instruments. Consequently, considerable efforts have been, and continue to be, made to coordinate observations among instruments ( e.g. through the Max Millennium Program of Solar Flare Research). However, there has been no study to date that quantifies how many flares have been observed by combinations of various instruments. Here we describe a technique that retrospectively searches archival databases for flares jointly observed by the Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI), Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)/ EUV Variability Experiment (EVE - Multiple EUV Grating Spectrograph (MEGS)-A and -B, Hinode/( EUV Imaging Spectrometer, Solar Optical Telescope, and X-Ray Telescope), and Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS). Out of the 6953 flares of GOES magnitude C1 or greater that we consider over the 6.5 years after the launch of SDO, 40 have been observed by 6 or more instruments simultaneously. Using each instrument's individual rate of success in observing flares, we show that the numbers of flares co-observed by 3 or more instruments are higher than the number expected under the assumption that the instruments operated independently of one another. In particular, the number of flares observed by larger numbers of instruments is much higher than expected. Our study illustrates that these missions often acted in cooperation, or at least had aligned goals. We also provide details on an interactive widget ( Solar Flare Finder), now available in SSWIDL, which allows a user to search for flaring events that have been observed by a chosen set of instruments. This provides access to a broader range of events in order to answer specific science questions. The difficulty in scheduling coordinated observations for solar-flare research is discussed with respect to instruments projected to begin operations during Solar Cycle 25, such as the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, Solar Orbiter, and Parker Solar Probe....
Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Number of pages21
JournalSolar Physics
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


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