We present observations of an intense solar flare hard X-ray burst on 1980 June 27, made with a balloon-borne array of liquid nitrogen-cooled germanium detectors which provided unprecedented spectral resolution (≲1 keV FWHM). The hard X-ray spectra throughout the impulsive phase burst fitted well to a double power-law form, and emission from an isothermal 108–109K plasma can be specifically excluded. The temporal variations of the spectrum indicate that the hard X-ray burst is made up of two superposed components: individual spikes lasting ∼3–15 s, whch have a hard spectrum and a break energy of 30–65 keV; and a slowly varying component characterized by a soft spectrum with a constant low-energy slope and a break energy which increases from 25 keV to ≳100 keV through the event. The double power-law shape indicates that acceleration by DC electric fields parallel to the magnetic field, similar to that occurring in the Earth's auroral zone, may be the source of the energetic electrons which produce the hard X-ray emission. The total potential drop required for flares is typically ∼102 kV compared to ∼10 kV for auroral substorms.
KeywordsFlare Solar Flare Auroral Zone Impulsive Phase Phase Burst
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