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Electron Beam Return-Current Losses in Solar Flares: Initial Comparison of Analytical and Numerical ResultsAccelerated electrons play an important role in the energetics of solar flares. Understanding the process or processes that accelerate these electrons to high, nonthermal energies also depends on understanding the evolution of these electrons between the acceleration region and the region where they are observed through their hard X-ray or radio emission. Energy losses in the co-spatial electric field that drives the current-neutralizing return current can flatten the electron distribution toward low energies. This in turn flattens the corresponding bremsstrahlung hard X-ray spectrum toward low energies. The lost electron beam energy also enhances heating in the coronal part of the flare loop. Extending earlier work by Knight & Sturrock (1977), Emslie (1980), Diakonov & Somov (1988), and Litvinenko & Somov (1991), I have derived analytical and semi-analytical results for the nonthermal electron distribution function and the self-consistent electric field strength in the presence of a steady-state return-current. I review these results, presented previously at the 2009 SPD Meeting in Boulder, CO, and compare them and computed X-ray spectra with numerical results obtained by Zharkova & Gordovskii (2005, 2006). The phYSical significance of similarities and differences in the results will be emphasized. This work is supported by NASA's Heliophysics Guest Investigator Program and the RHESSI Project.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Holman, Gordon (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2010
Subject Category
Solar Physics
Meeting Information
American Astronomical Society Meeting (AAS)(Miami, FL)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.