High resolution gamma ray spectroscopy of flares on the east and west limbs of the Sun

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astrophysics

Scientific paper

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9 pp., 7 figs., accepted by A&A

Scientific paper

10.1051/0004-6361:20066084

A new generation of Ge-based high-resolution gamma-ray spectrometers has allowed accurate measurements to be made of the profiles, widths and energies of the gamma-ray lines emitted in the impulsive phases of solar flares. Here we present measurements in two flares of the energies of the de-excitation lines of 12C and 16O at 4.4 and 6.1 MeV respectively by the Ge spectrometer SPI on board INTEGRAL, from which Doppler shifts are derived and compared with those expected from the recoil of 12C and 16O nuclei which were excited by the impacts of flare-accelerated ions. An anomalous Doppler measurement (in terms of recoil theory) has been reported by the Ge spectrometer RHESSI in a flare near the east limb, and explained by a tilt of the magnetic field lines at the footpoint of a magnetic loop away from the vertical, and towards the observer. This might be interpreted to imply a significant difference between the Doppler shifts on the east and west limbs, if it is a general phenomenon. SPI observed both east and west limb flares and found no significant difference in Doppler shifts. We also measured the shapes and fluences of these lines, and their fluence ratio to the 2.2 MeV line from the capture of flare-generated neutrons. Analyses of both quantities using thick-target models parametrized by solar physical and geometric quantities suggest that the two flares studied here also have magnetic fields tilted towards the observer, though the significance of the measurements is not high.

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