AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 54 Solar Flares
SPD Poster, Wednesday, June 2, 2004, 10:00am-7:00pm, Ballroom

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[54.17] Energetics of Three Solar Flares Observed by RHESSI

G. D. Holman, B. R. Dennis (NASA/GSFC), Linhui Sui (NASA/GSFC & CUA)

We compare the energy content of the thermal plasma and suprathermal electrons in three solar flares observed by the Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI). Fits of computed isothermal and thick-target bremsstrahlung spectra to RHESSI X-ray spectra are used to deduce the instantaneous energy content of the X-ray-emitting plasma and the accumulated energy in suprathermal electrons throughout the three flares. We minimize the energy in the suprathermal electrons by assuming that the electron distributions have a low-energy cutoff that is no lower than the highest cutoff energy that provides a good fit to the X-ray spectra. The energetics of the 2002 April 15 M1 flare and the 2002 April 21 X2 flare are computed and compared with results for the 2002 July 23 X5 flare (Holman et al. 2003, ApJ 595, L97). We find that for all three flares the energy in nonthermal electrons is comparable to the energy contained in the thermal plasma.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: holman@stars.gsfc.nasa.gov

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