EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 439, Number 2, August IV 2005
Page(s) 737 - 747
Section The Sun
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20053027

A&A 439, 737-747 (2005)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20053027

Size dependence of solar X-ray flare properties

M. Battaglia, P. C. Grigis and A. O. Benz

Institute of Astronomy, ETH Zentrum SEC, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
    e-mail: battaglia@astro.phys.ethz.ch

(Received 8 March 2005 / Accepted 24 April 2005 )

Non-thermal and thermal parameters of 85 solar flares of GOES class B1 to M6 (background subtracted classes A1 to M6) have been compared to each other. The hard X-ray flux has been measured by RHESSI and a spectral fitting provided flux and spectral index of the non-thermal emission, as well as temperature and emission measure of the thermal emission. The soft X-ray flux was taken from GOES measurements. We find a linear correlation in a double logarithmic plot between the non-thermal flux and the spectral index. The higher the acceleration rate of a flare, the harder the non-thermal electron distribution. The relation is similar to the one found by a comparison of the same parameters from several sub-peaks of a single flare. Thus small flares behave like small subpeaks of large flares. Thermal flare properties such as temperature, emission measure and the soft X-ray flux also correlate with peak non-thermal flux. A large non-thermal peak flux entails an enhancement in both thermal parameters. The relation between spectral index and the non-thermal flux is an intrinsic feature of the particle acceleration process, depending on flare size. This property affects the reported frequency distribution of flare energies.

Key words: Sun: flares -- Sun: X-rays, $\gamma$-rays -- acceleration of particles

© ESO 2005