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Title: Observations of Reconnection Flows in a Flare on the Solar Disk

Abstract

Magnetic reconnection is a well-accepted part of the theory of solar eruptive events, though the evidence is still circumstantial. Intrinsic to the reconnection picture of a solar eruptive event, particularly in the standard model for two-ribbon flares (CSHKP model), are an advective flow of magnetized plasma into the reconnection region, expansion of field above the reconnection region as a flux rope erupts, retraction of heated post-reconnection loops, and downflows of cooling plasma along those loops. We report on a unique set of Solar Dynamics Observatory /Atmospheric Imaging Assembly imaging and Hinode /EUV Imaging Spectrometer spectroscopic observations of the disk flare SOL2016-03-23T03:54 in which all four flows are present simultaneously. This includes spectroscopic evidence for a plasma upflow in association with large-scale expanding closed inflow field. The reconnection inflows are symmetric, and consistent with fast reconnection, and the post-reconnection loops show a clear cooling and deceleration as they retract. Observations of coronal reconnection flows are still rare, and most events are observed at the solar limb, obscured by complex foregrounds, making their relationship to the flare ribbons, cusp field, and arcades formed in the lower atmosphere difficult to interpret. The disk location and favorable perspective of this event have removed thesemore » ambiguities giving a clear picture of the reconnection dynamics.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ;  [1]
  1. SUPA, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22654390
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 847; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCELERATION; COOLING; EXPANSION; LIMBS; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; MASS; PLASMA; SOLAR FLARES; SOLAR WIND; SPECTROMETERS; STANDARD MODEL; SUN; SYMMETRY; ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION

Citation Formats

Wang, Juntao, Simões, P. J. A., Jeffrey, N. L. S., Fletcher, L., Wright, P. J., and Hannah, I. G., E-mail: j.wang.4@research.gla.ac.uk. Observations of Reconnection Flows in a Flare on the Solar Disk. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/AA8904.
Wang, Juntao, Simões, P. J. A., Jeffrey, N. L. S., Fletcher, L., Wright, P. J., & Hannah, I. G., E-mail: j.wang.4@research.gla.ac.uk. Observations of Reconnection Flows in a Flare on the Solar Disk. United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/AA8904.
Wang, Juntao, Simões, P. J. A., Jeffrey, N. L. S., Fletcher, L., Wright, P. J., and Hannah, I. G., E-mail: j.wang.4@research.gla.ac.uk. Wed . "Observations of Reconnection Flows in a Flare on the Solar Disk". United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/AA8904.
@article{osti_22654390,
title = {Observations of Reconnection Flows in a Flare on the Solar Disk},
author = {Wang, Juntao and Simões, P. J. A. and Jeffrey, N. L. S. and Fletcher, L. and Wright, P. J. and Hannah, I. G., E-mail: j.wang.4@research.gla.ac.uk},
abstractNote = {Magnetic reconnection is a well-accepted part of the theory of solar eruptive events, though the evidence is still circumstantial. Intrinsic to the reconnection picture of a solar eruptive event, particularly in the standard model for two-ribbon flares (CSHKP model), are an advective flow of magnetized plasma into the reconnection region, expansion of field above the reconnection region as a flux rope erupts, retraction of heated post-reconnection loops, and downflows of cooling plasma along those loops. We report on a unique set of Solar Dynamics Observatory /Atmospheric Imaging Assembly imaging and Hinode /EUV Imaging Spectrometer spectroscopic observations of the disk flare SOL2016-03-23T03:54 in which all four flows are present simultaneously. This includes spectroscopic evidence for a plasma upflow in association with large-scale expanding closed inflow field. The reconnection inflows are symmetric, and consistent with fast reconnection, and the post-reconnection loops show a clear cooling and deceleration as they retract. Observations of coronal reconnection flows are still rare, and most events are observed at the solar limb, obscured by complex foregrounds, making their relationship to the flare ribbons, cusp field, and arcades formed in the lower atmosphere difficult to interpret. The disk location and favorable perspective of this event have removed these ambiguities giving a clear picture of the reconnection dynamics.},
doi = {10.3847/2041-8213/AA8904},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal Letters},
number = 1,
volume = 847,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Sep 20 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Wed Sep 20 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}
  • Magnetic reconnection is believed to be the dominant energy release mechanism in solar flares. The standard flare model predicts both downward and upward outflow plasmas with speeds close to the coronal Alfvén speed. Yet, spectroscopic observations of such outflows, especially the downflows, are extremely rare. With observations of the newly launched Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS), we report the detection of a greatly redshifted (∼125 km s{sup –1} along the line of sight) Fe XXI 1354.08 Å emission line with a ∼100 km s{sup –1} nonthermal width at the reconnection site of a flare. The redshifted Fe XXI feature coincidesmore » spatially with the loop-top X-ray source observed by RHESSI. We interpret this large redshift as the signature of downward-moving reconnection outflow/hot retracting loops. Imaging observations from both IRIS and the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory also reveal the eruption and reconnection processes. Fast downward-propagating blobs along these loops are also found from cool emission lines (e.g., Si IV, O IV, C II, Mg II) and images of AIA and IRIS. Furthermore, the entire Fe XXI line is blueshifted by ∼260 km s{sup –1} at the loop footpoints, where the cool lines mentioned above all exhibit obvious redshift, a result that is consistent with the scenario of chromospheric evaporation induced by downward-propagating nonthermal electrons from the reconnection site.« less
  • Solar flares are among the most energetic events in the solar atmosphere. It is widely accepted that flares are powered by magnetic reconnection in the corona. An eruptive flare is usually accompanied by a coronal mass ejection, both of which are probably driven by the eruption of a magnetic flux rope (MFR). Here we report an eruptive flare on 2016 March 23 observed by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory . The extreme-ultraviolet imaging observations exhibit the clear rise and eruption of an MFR. In particular, the observations reveal solid evidence of magnetic reconnection from bothmore » the corona and chromosphere during the flare. Moreover, weak reconnection is observed before the start of the flare. We find that the preflare weak reconnection is of tether-cutting type and helps the MFR to rise slowly. Induced by a further rise of the MFR, strong reconnection occurs in the rise phases of the flare, which is temporally related to the MFR eruption. We also find that the magnetic reconnection is more of 3D-type in the early phase, as manifested in a strong-to-weak shear transition in flare loops, and becomes more 2D-like in the later phase, as shown by the apparent rising motion of an arcade of flare loops.« less
  • We present observations of distinct UV spectral properties at different locations during an atypical X-shaped flare (SOL2014-11-09T15:32) observed by the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph ( IRIS ). In this flare, four chromospheric ribbons appear and converge at an X-point where a separator is anchored. Above the X-point, two sets of non-coplanar coronal loops approach laterally and reconnect at the separator. The IRIS slit was located close to the X-point, cutting across some of the flare ribbons and loops. Near the location of the separator, the Si iv 1402.77 Å line exhibits significantly broadened line wings extending to 200 km s{supmore » −1} with an unshifted line core. These spectral features suggest the presence of bidirectional flows possibly related to the separator reconnection. While at the flare ribbons, the hot Fe xxi 1354.08 Å line shows blueshifts and the cool Si iv 1402.77 Å, C ii 1335.71 Å, and Mg ii 2803.52 Å lines show evident redshifts up to a velocity of 80 km s{sup −1}, which are consistent with the scenario of chromospheric evaporation/condensation.« less
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