Efficient Calculation of Non-local Thermodynamic Equilibrium Effects in Multithreaded Hydrodynamic Simulations of Solar Flares
Journal Article - Open Access
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON United States
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Understanding the dynamics of the chromosphere is crucial to understanding energy transport across the solar atmosphere. The chromosphere is optically thick at many wavelengths and described by non-local thermodynamic equilibrium NLTE, making it difficult to interpret observations. Furthermore, there is considerable evidence that the atmosphere is filamented, and that current instruments do not resolve small-scale features. In flares, it is likely that multithreaded models are required to describe the heating. The combination of NLTE effects and multithreaded modeling requires computationally demanding calculations, which has motivated the development of a model that can efficiently treat both. We describe the implementation of a solver in a hydrodynamic code for the hydrogen level populations that approximates the NLTE solutions. We derive an accurate electron density across the atmosphere that includes the effects of nonequilibrium ionization for helium and metals. We show the effects on hydrodynamic simulations, which are used to synthesize light curves using a postprocessing radiative transfer code. We demonstrate the utility of this model on IRIS observations of a small flare. We show that the Doppler shifts in Mg II, C II, and O I can be explained with a multithreaded model of loops subjected to electron beam heating, so long as NLTE effects are treated. The intensities, however, do not match the observed values very well, which is due to assumptions about the initial atmosphere. We briefly show how altering the initial atmosphere can drastically alter line profiles and derived quantities and suggest that it should be tuned to preflare observations.