Bright Hot Impacts by Erupted Fragments Falling Back on the Sun: A Template for Stellar Accretion

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Science  20 Jun 2013:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1235692

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Impacts of falling fragments observed after the eruption of a filament in a solar flare on 7 June 2011 are similar to those inferred for accretion flows on young stellar objects. As imaged in the ultraviolet (UV)–extreme UV range by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly onboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory, many impacts of dark, dense matter display uncommonly intense, compact brightenings. High-resolution hydrodynamic simulations show that such bright spots, with plasma temperatures increasing from ~104 to ~106 kelvin, occur when high-density plasma (>>1010 particles per cubic centimeter) hits the solar surface at several hundred kilometers per second, producing high-energy emission as in stellar accretion. The high-energy emission comes from the original fragment material and is heavily absorbed by optically thick plasma, possibly explaining the lower mass accretion rates inferred from x-rays relative to UV–optical–near infrared observations of young stars.

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