Exploring the Origin of Solar Energetic Electrons. I. Constraining the Properties of the Acceleration Region Plasma Environment

Ross Pallister*, Natasha Jeffrey

*Corresponding author for this work

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Solar flare electron acceleration is an efficient process, but its properties (mechanism, location) are not well constrained. Via hard X-ray (HXR) emission, we routinely observe energetic electrons at the Sun, and sometimes we detect energetic electrons in interplanetary space. We examine if the plasma properties of an acceleration region (size, temperature, density) can be constrained from in-situ observations, helping to locate the acceleration region in the corona, and infer the relationship between electrons observed in-situ and at the Sun. We model the transport of energetic electrons, accounting for collisional and non-collisional effects, from the corona into the heliosphere (to 1.0 AU). In the corona, electrons are transported through a hot, over-dense region. We test if the properties of this region can be extracted from electron spectra (fluence and peak flux) at different heliospheric locations. We find that cold, dense coronal regions significantly reduce the energy at which we see the peak flux and fluence for distributions measured out to 1.0 AU, the degree of which correlates with the temperature and density of plasma in the region. Where instrument energy resolution is insufficient to differentiate the corresponding peak values, the spectral ratio of [7-10) to [4-7) keV can be more readily identified and demonstrates the same relationship. If flare electrons detected in-situ are produced in, and/or transported through hot, over-dense regions close to HXR-emitting electrons, then this plasma signature should be present in their lower-energy spectra (1-20 keV), observable at varying heliospheric distances with missions such as Solar Orbiter.
Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Early online date8 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2023

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