VLA Observations of Solar Decimetric Spike Bursts: Direct Signature of Accelerated Electrons in Reconnection Outflow Region

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Bin Chen, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA, United States, Tim Bastian, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Charlottesville, VA, United States and Dale E Gary, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ, United States
Solar decimetric spike bursts, which appear in a radio dynamic spectrum as a cluster of short-lived and narrowband brightenings, have been suggested as a possible signature of many, "elementary" particle accelerations at or near a magnetic reconnection site. Their dynamic spectral feature can be potentially used to diagnose important parameters of the reconnection site such as plasma density and spatial size of the fragmentation. Yet direct observational evidence supporting this scenario has been elusive mainly due to the lack of imaging observations. The upgraded Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) provides the first opportunity of performing simultaneous radio imaging and dynamic spectroscopy, which allows radio sources to be imaged at every spatio-temporal pixel in the dynamic spectrum. Here we report Jansky VLA observations of decimetric spike bursts recorded during an eruptive solar limb flare. Combined with EUV and X-ray data from SDO and RHESSI, we show that the spike bursts coincide spatially with a loop-top hard X-ray source, which are located in a region where supra-arcade downflows meet the underlying hot, EUV/X-ray loops. We interpret the observed spike bursts as a direct signature of non-thermal electrons accelerated by turbulences and/or shocks in the reconnection outflow region.