Solar flares not producing sudden phase advances

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Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
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Kaufmann P.
Piazza L.R.
Fernandez J.H.
Da Silva M.R.
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We present a study of solar flares that do not produce disturbances in the low terrestrial ionosphere, detectable in very low frequency (VLF) low ionosphere propagation as sudden phase advances (SPA). We selected only flares with larger optical H-α importance (equal or larger than 1), occurred near the cycle 22 solar maximum (1987-1989), at times when VLF data were available for long-distance propagation paths entirely illuminated by the Sun. For the 463 optical solar flares selected, we found that 18.8% had no measurable effects on the lower ionosphere. Inversely, all measured SPAs did have a solar counterpart, optical (such a subflare) and/or X-ray fluxes. Among the H-α flares that do not produce measurable disturbances in the low terrestrial ionosphere, there is a surprising selection for events occurred at the solar limbs. On the other hand, the X-ray flux for the H-α flares selected, obtained from GOES for the bands 0.5-4 A and 1-8 A exhibited a rather scattered correlation with the SPAs amplitudes. GOES X-rays fluxes for H-α flares not producing SPAs extend over 2-3 orders of magnitude. These results may suggest real physical distinctions between events. Possible explanations suggest the existence of a directional trend for the soft X-ray produced in flares possibly combined with the blockage of ionizing X rays behind the solar limbs. Copyright 2002 by the American Geophysical Union.
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