An investigation of Fe XV emission lines in solar flare spectra
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland, UK e-mail: F.Keenan@qub.ac.uk
2 Center for Theoretical Studies of Physical Systems, Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA 30304, USA
3 Computational Physics, Inc., 8401 Braddock Road, Springfield, VA 22151, USA and Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC 20375-5320, USA
Accepted: 16 December 2005
Previously, large discrepancies have been found between theory and observation for emission line ratios in solar flare spectra covering the 224-327 Å wavelength range, obtained by the Naval Research Laboratory's S082A instrument on board Skylab. These discrepancies have been attributed to either errors in the adopted atomic data or the presence of additional atomic processes not included in the modelling, such as fluorescence. However our analysis of these plus other S082A flare observations (the latter containing transitions between 321-482 Å), performed using the most recent atomic physics calculations in conjunction with a chianti synthetic flare spectrum, indicate that blending of the lines is primarily responsible for the discrepancies. As a result, most lines cannot be employed as electron density diagnostics for solar flares, at least at the spectral resolution of S082A and similar instruments (i.e. ~0.1 Å). An exception is the intensity ratio I(3s3p 3P2–3p2 3P1)/I(3s3p 3P2–3p2 1D(321.8 Å)/I(327.0 Å), which appears to provide good estimates of the electron density at this spectral resolution.
Key words: Sun: flares / Sun: UV radiation / Sun: corona
© ESO, 2006