34th Solar Physics Division Meeting, June 2003
Session 16 Flares and Microflares II
Poster, Wednesday, June 18, 2003, 3:30-5:00pm, Mezzanine

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[16.02] COMPTEL Gamma-Ray Observations of the C4 Solar Flare on 20 January 2000

C. A. Young (L-3 Comm. EER Systems, Inc.), COMPTEL Collaboration

The Solar Maximum Mission (SMM) greatly changed the picture of gamma-ray line (GRL) flares. Once thought to be relatively rare and confined to only the largest of flares, SMM observations put this view in question. SMM observed over 100 GRL flares from very large (GOES class X12) to several orders of magnitude smaller (GOES class M2). It was argued by some (Bai 1986) that this was still consistent with the idea that GRL events are rare. Others, however, argued the opposite (Vestrand 1988; Cliver, Crosby and Dennis 1994), stating that the lower end of this distribution was just a function of SMM's sensitivity. They stated that the launch of the Compton Gamma-ray Observatory (CGRO) would in fact continue this distribution to show even smaller GRL flares.

In response to a BACODINE cosmic gamma-ray burst alert, COMPTEL on the CGRO recorded gamma rays above 1 MeV from the C4 flare at 0221 UT 20 January 2000. This event, though at the limits of COMPTEL's sensitivity, clearly showed a nuclear line excess above the continuum. Using new spectroscopy techniques we were able to resolve individual lines. This has allowed us to make a basic comparison of this event with the GRL flare distribution from SMM and also compare this flare with a well-observed large GRL flare seen by OSSE. We show that this flare is normal, i.e., it is a natural extension of the SMM distribution of flares. The analysis of this flare means there is no evidence for a lower flare size for proton acceleration. Protons even in small flares contain a large part of the accelerated particle energy.


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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #3
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