Article

Observations And Simulations Of The Na I D 1 Line Profiles In An M-Class Solar Flare

We study the temporal evolution of the Na i D1 line profiles in the M3.9 flare SOL2014-06-11T21:03 UT, using observations at high spectral resolution obtained with the Interferometric Bidimensional Spectrometer instrument on the Dunn Solar Telescope combined with radiative hydrodynamic simulations. Our results show a significant increase in the intensities of the line core and wings during the flare. The analysis of the line profiles from the flare ribbons reveals that the Na i D1 line has a central reversal with excess emission in the blue wing (blue asymmetry). We combine RADYN and RH simulations to synthesize Na i D1 line profiles of the flaring atmosphere and find good agreement with the observations. Heating with a beam of electrons modifies the radiation field in the flaring atmosphere and excites electrons from the ground state 3s 2S to the first excited state 3p 2P, which in turn modifies the relative population of the two states. The change in temperature and the population density of the energy states make the sodium line profile revert from absorption into emission. Furthermore, the rapid changes in temperature break the pressure balance between the different layers of the lower atmosphere, generating upflow/downflow patterns. Analysis of the simulated spectra reveals that the asymmetries of the Na i D1 flare profile are produced by the velocity gradients in the lower solar atmosphere.

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