RHESSI Results – Time for a Rethink?
Hard X-rays and γ-rays are the most direct signatures of energetic electrons and ions in the sun’s atmosphere which is optically thin at these energies and their radiation involves no coherent processes. Being collisional they are complementary to gyro-radiation in probing atmospheric density as opposed to magnetic field and the electrons are primarily 10–100~keV in energy, complementing the (>100 keV) electrons likely responsible for microwave bursts. The pioneering results of the Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) are raising the first new major questions concerning solar energetic particles in many years. Some highlights of these results are discussed – primarily around RHESSI topics on which the authors have had direct research involvement – particularly when they are raising the need for re-thinking of entrenched ideas. Results and issues are broadly divided into discoveries in the spatial, temporal and spectral domains, with the main emphasis on flare hard X-rays/fast electrons but touching also on γ-rays/ions, non-flare emissions, and the relationship to radio bursts.
KeywordsSolar Phys Radio Burst Photon Spectrum Thick Target Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager
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