The term "ultraviolet (UV) burst" is introduced to describe small, intense, transient brightenings in ultraviolet images of solar active regions. We inventorize their properties and provide a definition based on image sequences in transition-region lines. Coronal signatures are rare, and most bursts are associated with small-scale, canceling opposite-polarity fields in the photosphere that occur in emerging flux regions, moving magnetic features in sunspot moats, and sunspot light bridges. We also compare UV bursts with similar transition-region phenomena found previously in solar ultraviolet spectrometry and with similar phenomena at optical wavelengths, in particular Ellerman bombs. Akin to the latter, UV bursts are probably small-scale magnetic reconnection events occurring in the low atmosphere, at photospheric and/or chromospheric heights. Their intense emission in lines with optically thin formation gives unique diagnostic opportunities for studying the physics of magnetic reconnection in the low solar atmosphere.
Solar flare precursors depict constrained rate of energy release contrasting the imminent rapid energy release which calls for different regime of plasma processes to be at play. Due to subtle emission during the precursor phase, its diagnostics remain delusive, revealing either the non-thermal electrons (NTEs) or the thermal conduction to be the driver. In this regard, we investigate the chromospheric response during various phases of a B6.4 flare on August 20, 2005. Spatio-temporal investigation of flare ribbon enhancement during the precursor phase, carried out using spectra-images recorded in several wavelength positions on the H-alpha line profile, revealed its delayed response (180 seconds) compared to the X-ray emission, as well as sequential increment in the width of the line-profile which are indicative of a slow heating process. However, energy contained in the H-alpha emission during the precursor phase reach as high as 80% of that estimated during the main phase. Additionally, the plasma hydrodynamics during the precursor phase, as resulted from the application of a single-loop one-dimensional model, revealed the presence of power-law extension in the model generated X-ray spectra, with flux lower than the RHESSI background. Therefore, our multi-wavelength diagnostics and hydrodynamical modeling of the precursor emission indicates the role of a two-stage process. Firstly, reconnection triggered NTEs, although too small in flux to overcome the observational constraints, thermalize in the upper chromosphere. This leads to the generation of a slow conduction front which causes plasma heating during the precursor phase.
We compare time variations of the H$\alpha$ and X-ray emissions observed during the pre-impulsive and impulsive phases of the C1.1-class solar flare on 21 June 2013 with those of plasma parameters and synthesized X-ray emission from a one-dimensional hydro-dynamic numerical model of the flare. The numerical model was calculated assuming that the external energy is delivered to the flaring loop by non-thermal electrons. The H$\alpha$ spectra and images were obtained using the Multi-channel Subtractive Double Pass spectrograph with a time resolution of 50~ms. The X-ray fluxes and spectra were recorded by the Reuven Ramaty High-Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI). Pre-flare geometric and thermodynamic parameters of the model and the delivered energy were estimated using RHESSI data. The time variations of the X-ray light curves in various energy bands and the those of the H$\alpha$ intensities and line profiles were well correlated. The time scales of the observed variations agree with the calculated variations of the plasma parameters in the flaring loop footpoints, reflecting the time variations of the vertical extent of the energy deposition layer. Our result shows that the fast time variations of the H$\alpha$ emission of the flaring kernels can be explained by momentary changes of the deposited energy flux and the variations of the penetration depths of the non-thermal electrons.
Observations of flare emissions in the optical continuum are very rare. Therefore, the analysis of such observations is useful and may contribute to our understanding of the flaring chromosphere and photosphere. We study the white light continuum emission observed during the X6.9 flare which occurred on August 09, 2011. This emission comes not only from the flare ribbons but also from the nearby plage area. The main aim of this work is to disentangle the flare and plage (facula) emission. We analyzed the spatial, spectral and temporal evolution of the flare and plage properties by analyzing multi-wavelength observations. We study the morphological correlation of the whitelight continuum emission observed with different instruments. We found that some active region areas which produce the continuum emission correspond rather to plages than to the flare kernels. We showed that in some cases the continuum emission from the WL flare kernels is very similar to the continuum emission of faculae.
Ellerman bombs (EBs) are short-lived and compact structures that are observed well in the wings of the hydrogen H-alpha line. EBs are also observed in the chromospheric CaII lines and in UV continua. H-alpha line profiles of EBs show a deep absorption at the line center and enhanced emission in the line wings. Similar shapes of the line profiles are observed for the CaII IR line at 8542 ang. It is generally accepted that EBs may be considered as compact microflares located in lower solar atmosphere. However, it is still not clear where exactly the emission of EBs is formed in the solar atmosphere. High-resolution spectrophotometric observations of EBs were used for determining of their physical parameters and construction of semi-empirical models. In our analysis we used observations of EBs obtained in the H-alpha and CaII H lines. We also used NLTE numerical codes for the construction of grids of 243 semi-empirical models simulating EBs structures. In this way, the observed emission could be compared with the calculated line spectra. For a specific model we found reasonable agreement between the observed and theoretical emission and thus we consider such model as a good approximation of the EBs atmospheres. This model is characterized by an enhanced temperature in the lower chromosphere and can be considered as a compact structure (hot spot). For the first time the set of two lines H-alpha and CaII H was used to construct semi-empirical models of EBs. Our analysis shows that EBs can be described by a "hot spot" model, with the temperature and/or density increase through a few hundred km atmospheric structure. We confirmed that EBs are located close to the temperature minimum or in the lower chromosphere. Two spectral features, observed simultaneously, significantly strengthen the constraints on a realistic model.
A white paper prepared for the Space Studies Board, National Academy of Sciences (USA), for its Decadal Survey of Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics), reviewing and encouraging studies of flare physics in the chromosphere.
The dynamics of prominence fine structures is a challenge to understand the formation of cool plasma prominence embedded in the hot corona. Recent observations from the high resolution Hinode/SOT telescope allow us to compute velocities perpendicularly to the line-of-sight or transverse velocities. Combining simultaneous observations obtained in H-alpha with Hinode/SOT and the MSDP spectrograph operating in the Meudon solar tower we derive the velocity vectors of a quiescent prominence. The velocities perpendicular to the line-of-sight are measured by time slice technique, the Dopplershifts by the bisector method. The Dopplershifts of bright threads derived from the MSDP reach 15 km/s at the edges of the prominence and are between +/- 5 km/s in the center of the prominence. Even though they are minimum values due to seeing effect, they are of the same order as the transverse velocities. These measurements are very important because they suggest that the verticalstructures shown in SOT may not be real vertical magnetic structures in the sky plane. The vertical structures could be a pile up of dips in more or less horizontal magnetic field lines in a 3D perspective, as it was proposed by many MHD modelers. In our analysis we also calibrate the Hinode H-alpha data using MSDP observations obtained simultaneously.
For many years various asymmetrical profiles of different spectral lines emitted from solar flares have been frequently observed. These asymmetries or line shifts are caused predominantly by vertical mass motions in flaring layers and they provide a good diagnostics for plasma flows during solar flares. There are many controversial results of observations and theoretical analysis of plasma flows in solar chromospheric flares. The main difficulty is the interpretation of line shifts or asymmetries. For many years, methods based on bisector techniques were used but they give a reliable results only for some specific conditions and in most cases cannot be applied. The most promising approach is to use the non-LTE techniques applied for flaring atmosphere. The calculation of synthetic line profiles is performed with the radiative transfer techniques and the assumed physical conditions correspond to flaring atmosphere. I will present an overview of different observations and interpretations of line asymmetries in chromospheric flares. I will explain what we have learnt about the chromospheric evaporation in the frame of hydrodynamical models as well as reconnection models. A critical review will be done on the classical methods used to derive Doppler-shifts for optically thick chomospheric lines. In particular, details on the new approach for interpreting chromospheric line asymmetries based on the non-LTE techniques will be presented.