HEROES Observations of a Quiescent Active Region

Friday, 19 December 2014
Albert Y Shih1, Steven Christe1, Jessica Gaskin2 and Colleen Wilson-Hodge2, (1)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (2)NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, United States
Hard X-ray (HXR) observations of solar flares reveal the signatures of energetic electrons, and HXR images with high dynamic range and high sensitivity can distinguish between where electrons are accelerated and where they stop. Even in the non-flaring corona, high-sensitivity HXR measurements may be able to detect the presence of electron acceleration. The High Energy Replicated Optics to Explore the Sun (HEROES) balloon mission added the capability of solar observations to an existing astrophysics balloon payload, HERO, which used grazing-incidence optics for direct HXR imaging. HEROES measures HXR emission from ~20 to ~75 keV with an angular resolution of 33” HPD. HEROES launched on 2013 September 21 from Fort Sumner, New Mexico, and had a successful one-day flight. We present the detailed analysis of the 7-hour observation of AR 11850, which sets new upper limits on the HXR emission from a quiescent active region, with corresponding constraints on the numbers of tens of keV energetic electrons present. Using the imaging capability of HEROES, HXR upper limits are also obtained for the quiet Sun surrounding the active region. We also discuss what can be achieved with new and improved HXR instrumentation on balloons.