Physical Processes During Impulsive Solar and Stellar Flares
International Astronomical Union Colloquium
Investigations of impulsive flares on both the Sun and red dwarf stais during more than 30 years allow us to arrive at quite definite conclusions. Here we will consider impulsive events; on the Sun the impulsive phase of a flare is observed as a hard X-ray burst with the emission of photons with energiesE> 30 keV up to the γ-ray range. At the same time microwave radio bursts, and sometimes UV and optical continuum bursts are registered. Typical durations of these processes are ∼l-3 min. In
... is time interval other kinds of flare emission like soft X-ray (2-10 keV) emission, meter radio bursts and Balmer line emission begin to rise, but their maxima occur later on, in the gradual (thermal) phase of the flare.Impulsive stellar flares are often observed as a significant increase in optical continuum, especially in the U-band, of similar duration (1-3 min), and this time interval is, like in the solar case, the rise phase of the soft X-ray emission.Modern observations demonstrate that both the impulsive phase of a flare or an impulsive flare develops in low-lying loops. Earlier only indirect evidence existed in optical and radio data. Recently, however, the heights of the hard X-ray sources in impulsive solar events were determined directly fromYOHKOH's HXT (Kosugi 1994, Masuda 1994) (Fig. 1a). Statistically, the height of the hard X-ray source in the 14-23 keV range is 9700 ± 2000 km above the photosphere, and this height reduces to 6500 km in the 53-93 keV range. Besides two hard X-ray sources in the loop footpoints, a third hard X-ray source exists at the top of the loop at least in some cases. The authors of this experiment suppose that the appearance of this loop-top source is due to reconnection in the impulsive phase. Note that the reconnection begins close to the apex of the loop, when this loop is filled by hot plasma that evaporated from both footpoints.