Signatures of Helium Continuum in Cool Flare Loops Observed by SDO/AIA

Petr Heinzel*, Pavol Schwartz, Juraj Lörinčík, Július Koza, Sonja Jejčič, David Kuridze

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)


We present an analysis of off-limb cool flare loops observed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)/Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) during the gradual phase of SOL2017-09-10T16:06 X8.2-class flare. In the extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) channels starting from the 335 Å one, cool loops appear as dark structures against the bright loop arcade. These dark structures were precisely coaligned (spatially and temporally) with loops observed by Swedish Solar Telescope (SST) in emission lines of hydrogen and ionized calcium. A recently published semi-empirical model of cool loops based on SST observations serves to predict the level of hydrogen and helium recombination continua. The continua were synthesized using an approximate non-LTE (i.e., departures from local thermodynamic equilibrium) approach and theoretical spectra were then transformed to AIA signals. Comparison with signals detected inside the dark loops shows that only in AIA 211 Å channel the computed level of recombination continua is consistent with observations for some models, while in all other channels that are more distant from the continua edges the synthetic continuum is far too low. In analogy with on-disk observations of flares we interpret the surplus emission as due to numerous EUV lines emitted from hot but faint loops in front of the cool ones. Finally we briefly comment on failure of the standard absorption model when used for analysis of the dark-loop brightness.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL35
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2020


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