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Solar Flare Plasma Transport Inferred from Elemental Abundance Changes using soft X-ray Spectra

Suarez, Crisel

Thesis supervisor(s)

Moore, Christopher

Solar flares are the most powerful events in the solar system. These eruptive phenomena convert magnetic energy to thermal, radiative and kinetic energy, and accelerates particles on timescales of minutes via magnetic reconnection. As a result, the local plasma can be heated to temperatures in excess of 20 MK. In addition, plasma flows from the lower chromosphere to the higher corona have been observed. Hence, elemental abundance values similar to chromospheric and photospheric values have been inferred from soft X-ray measurements. Two of the most comprehensive, independent soft X-ray studies on elemental abundance changes in solar flares disagree on the variations of certain low first ionization potential (fip) elements (Narendranath 2014, Dennis et al. 2015). The Miniature X-ray Solar Spectrometer (MinXSS) CubeSats (Moore et al. 2018) provides new spectrally resolved soft X-ray measurements at higher spectral resolution and broader spectral (0.8 – 12 keV) coverage than the measurements used in Narendranath 2014 and Dennis et al. 2015. These properties allow the MinXSS data set to unambiguously quantify solar flare variations in Fe, Ca, Si, Mg, S, Ar, and Ni abundances. Variations in elemental abundance can provide information on plasma transport and heating processes in the solar corona. I present initial results of an M5.0 flare observed by the MinXSS-1 CubeSat and how it compares to the two aforementioned studies.

This work supported by the NSF-REU Solar Physics program at SAO, grant number AGS-1560313 and the NSF- Fisk- Vanderbilt Master's-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program Grant No. HRD-1547757. MinXSS-1 CubeSat mission is supported by NASA Grant NNX14AN84G.
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