Shock-reflected electrons and X-ray line spectra
Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Fričova 298, 251 65 Ondřejov, Czech Republic
Received: 21 December 2016
Accepted: 11 May 2017
Aims. The aim of this paper is to try to explain the physical origin of the non-thermal electron distribution that is able to form the enhanced intensities of satellite lines in the X-ray line spectra observed during the impulsive phases of some solar flares.
Methods. Synthetic X-ray line spectra of the distributions composed of the distribution of shock reflected electrons and the background Maxwellian distribution are calculated in the approximation of non-Maxwellian ionization, recombination, excitation and de-excitation rates. The distribution of shock reflected electrons is determined analytically.
Results. We found that the distribution of electrons reflected at the nearly-perpendicular shock resembles, at its high-energy part, the so called n-distribution. Therefore it could be able to explain the enhanced intensities of Si xiid satellite lines. However, in the region immediately in front of the shock its effect is small because electrons in background Maxwellian plasma are much more numerous there. Therefore, we propose a model in which the shock reflected electrons propagate to regions with smaller densities and different temperatures. Combining the distribution of the shock-reflected electrons with the Maxwellian distribution having different densities and temperatures we found that spectra with enhanced intensities of the satellite lines are formed at low densities and temperatures of the background plasma when the combined distribution is very similar to the n-distribution also in its low-energy part. In these cases, the distribution of the shock-reflected electrons controls the intensity ratio of the allowed Si xiii and Si xiv lines to the Si xiid satellite lines. The high electron densities of the background plasma reduce the effect of shock-reflected electrons on the composed electron distribution function, which leads to the Maxwellian spectra.
Key words: Sun: flares / line: formation
© ESO, 2017