Particle acceleration and transport in reconnecting twisted loops in a stratified atmosphere
1 Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
2 School of Physics and Astronomy, Univesity of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
Received: 16 April 2013
Accepted: 20 August 2013
Context. Twisted coronal loops should be ubiquitous in the solar corona. Twisted magnetic fields contain excess magnetic energy, which can be released during magnetic reconnection, causing solar flares.
Aims. The aim of this work is to investigate magnetic reconnection, and particle acceleration and transport in kink-unstable twisted coronal loops, with a focus on the effects of resistivity, loop geometry and atmospheric stratification. Another aim is to perform forward-modelling of bremsstrahlung emission and determine the structure of hard X-ray sources.
Methods. We use a combination of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) and test-particle methods. First, the evolution of the kinking coronal loop is considered using resistive MHD model, incorporating atmospheric stratification and loop curvature. Then, the obtained electric and magnetic fields and density distributions are used to calculate electron and proton trajectories using a guiding-centre approximation, taking into account Coulomb collisions.
Results. It is shown that electric fields in twisted coronal loops can effectively accelerate protons and electrons to energies up to 10 MeV. High-energy particles have hard, nearly power-law energy spectra. The volume occupied by high-energy particles demonstrates radial expansion, which results in the expansion of the visible hard X-ray loop and a gradual increase in hard X-ray footpoint area. Synthesised hard X-ray emission reveals strong footpoint sources and the extended coronal source, whose intensity strongly depends on the coronal loop density.
Key words: Sun: flares / acceleration of particles / Sun: X-rays, gamma rays
© ESO, 2014