Subsecond Time Evolution of Type III Solar Radio Burst Sources at Fundamental and Harmonic Frequencies

Xingyao Chen, Eduard Kontar, Nicolina Chrysaphi, Natasha Jeffrey, Mykola Gordovskyy, Yihua Yan, Baolin Tan

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Recent developments in astronomical radio telescopes opened new opportunities in imaging and spectroscopy of solar radio bursts at sub-second timescales. Imaging in narrow frequency bands has revealed temporal variations in the positions and source sizes that do not fit into the standard picture of type III solar radio bursts, and require a better understanding of radio-wave transport. In this paper, we utilise 3D Monte Carlo ray-tracing simulations that account for the anisotropic density turbulence in the inhomogeneous solar corona to quantitatively explain the image dynamics at the fundamental (near plasma frequency) and harmonic (double) plasma emissions observed at \sim 32~MHz. Comparing the simulations with observations, we find that anisotropic scattering from an instantaneous emission point source can account for the observed time profiles, centroid locations, and source sizes of the fundamental component of type III radio bursts (generated where f_{pe} \approx 32~MHz). The best agreement with observations is achieved when the ratio of the perpendicular to the parallel component of the wave vector of anisotropic density turbulence is around 0.25. Harmonic emission sources observed at the same frequency (\sim 32~MHz, but generated where f_{pe} \approx 16~MHz) have apparent sizes comparable to those produced by the fundamental emission, but demonstrate a much slower temporal evolution. The simulations of radio-wave propagation make it possible to quantitatively explain the variations of apparent source sizes and positions at sub-second time-scales both for the fundamental and harmonic emissions, and can be used as a diagnostic tool for the plasma turbulence in the upper corona.
Original languageEnglish
Article number43
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Early online date10 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2020


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