Vol 16, No 10

On the power-law distributions of X-ray fluxes from solar flares observed with GOES

You-Ping Li, Li Feng, Ping Zhang, Si-Ming Liu, Wei-Qun Gan


Abstract The power-law frequency distributions of the peak flux of solar flare X-ray emission have been studied extensively and attributed to a system having self-organized criticality (SOC). In this paper, we first show that, so long as the shape of the normalized light curve is not correlated with the peak flux, the flux histogram of solar flares also follows a power-law distribution with the same spectral index as the power-law frequency distribution of the peak flux, which may partially explain why power-law distributions are ubiquitous in the Universe. We then show that the spectral indexes of the histograms of soft X-ray fluxes observed by GOES satellites in two different energy channels are different: the higher energy channel has a harder distribution than the lower energy channel, which challenges the universal power-law distribution predicted by SOC models and implies a very soft distribution of thermal energy content of plasmas probed by the GOES satellites. The temperature (T) distribution, on the other hand, approaches a power-law distribution with an index of 2 for high values of T. Hence the application of SOC models to the statistical properties of solar flares needs to be revisited.


Keywords Sun: flares — Sun: X-rays, Gamma rays — methods: statistical

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