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Title: Imaging Observations of Magnetic Reconnection in a Solar Eruptive Flare

Abstract

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 both 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 apparentmore » rising motion of an arcade of flare loops.« less

Authors:
;  [1];  [2];  [3];  [4]
  1. School of Astronomy and Space Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023 (China)
  2. W. W. Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305 (United States)
  3. Department of Physics, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717 (United States)
  4. School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews, Fife KY16 9SS, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22663932
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 835; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; CHROMOSPHERE; ERUPTION; EXTREME ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION; MAGNETIC FLUX; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; MASS; SOLAR FLARES; SOLIDS; SUN

Citation Formats

Li, Y., Ding, M. D., Sun, X., Qiu, J., and Priest, E. R., E-mail: yingli@nju.edu.cn. Imaging Observations of Magnetic Reconnection in a Solar Eruptive Flare. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/835/2/190.
Li, Y., Ding, M. D., Sun, X., Qiu, J., & Priest, E. R., E-mail: yingli@nju.edu.cn. Imaging Observations of Magnetic Reconnection in a Solar Eruptive Flare. United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/835/2/190.
Li, Y., Ding, M. D., Sun, X., Qiu, J., and Priest, E. R., E-mail: yingli@nju.edu.cn. Wed . "Imaging Observations of Magnetic Reconnection in a Solar Eruptive Flare". United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/835/2/190.
@article{osti_22663932,
title = {Imaging Observations of Magnetic Reconnection in a Solar Eruptive Flare},
author = {Li, Y. and Ding, M. D. and Sun, X. and Qiu, J. and Priest, E. R., E-mail: yingli@nju.edu.cn},
abstractNote = {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 both 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.},
doi = {10.3847/1538-4357/835/2/190},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal},
number = 2,
volume = 835,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Wed Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}
  • In this paper, we present a multi-wavelength analysis of an eruptive white-light M3.2 flare that occurred in active region NOAA 10486 on 2003 November 1. The excellent set of high-resolution observations made by RHESSI and the TRACE provides clear evidence of significant pre-flare activities for {approx}9 minutes in the form of an initiation phase observed at EUV/UV wavelengths followed by an X-ray precursor phase. During the initiation phase, we observed localized brightenings in the highly sheared core region close to the filament and interactions among short EUV loops overlying the filament, which led to the opening of magnetic field lines.more » The X-ray precursor phase is manifested in RHESSI measurements below {approx}30 keV and coincided with the beginning of flux emergence at the flaring location along with early signatures of the eruption. The RHESSI observations reveal that both plasma heating and electron acceleration occurred during the precursor phase. The main flare is consistent with the standard flare model. However, after the impulsive phase, an intense hard X-ray (HXR) looptop source was observed without significant footpoint emission. More intriguingly, for a brief period, the looptop source exhibited strong HXR emission with energies up to {approx}50-100 keV and significant non-thermal characteristics. The present study indicates a causal relation between the activities in the pre-flare and the main flare. We also conclude that pre-flare activities, occurring in the form of subtle magnetic reorganization along with localized magnetic reconnection, played a crucial role in destabilizing the active region filament, leading to a solar eruptive flare and associated large-scale phenomena.« less
  • We present a detailed multi-wavelength analysis and interpretation of the evolution of an M7.6 flare that occurred near the southeast limb on 2003 October 24. Pre-flare images at TRACE 195 A show that the bright and complex system of coronal loops already existed at the flaring site. The X-ray observations of the flare taken from the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) spacecraft reveal two phases of the flare evolution. The first phase is characterized by the altitude decrease of the X-ray looptop (LT) source for approx11 minutes. Such a long duration of the descending LT source motionmore » is reported for the first time. The EUV loops, located below the X-ray LT source, also undergo contraction with similar speed (approx15 km s{sup -1}) in this interval. During the second phase the two distinct hard X-ray footpoint (FP) sources are observed which correlate well with UV and Halpha flare ribbons. The X-ray LT source now exhibits upward motion as anticipated from the standard flare model. The RHESSI spectra during the first phase are soft and indicative of hot thermal emission from flaring loops with temperatures T > 25 MK at the early stage. On the other hand, the spectra at high energies (epsilon approx> 25 keV) follow hard power laws during the second phase (gamma = 2.6-2.8). We show that the observed motion of the LT and FP sources can be understood as a consequence of three-dimensional magnetic reconnection at a separator in the corona. During the first phase of the flare, the reconnection releases an excess of magnetic energy related to the magnetic tensions generated before a flare by the shear flows in the photosphere. The relaxation of the associated magnetic shear in the corona by the reconnection process explains the descending motion of the LT source. During the second phase, the ordinary reconnection process dominates describing the energy release in terms of the standard model of large eruptive flares with increasing FP separation and upward motion of the LT source.« less
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  • We present the quasi-periodic slipping motion of flux-rope structures prior to the onset of an eruptive X-class flare on 2015 March 11, obtained by the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph and the Solar Dynamics Observatory . The slipping motion occurred at the north part of the flux rope and seemed to successively peel off the flux rope. The speed of the slippage was 30−40 km s{sup −1}, with an average period of 130 ± 30 s. The Si iv λ 1402.77 line showed a redshift of 10−30 km s{sup −1} and a line width of 50−120 km s{sup −1} at themore » west legs of slipping structures, indicative of reconnection downflow. The slipping motion lasted about 40 minutes, and the flux rope started to rise up slowly at the late stage of the slippage. Then an X2.1 flare was initiated, and the flux rope was impulsively accelerated. One of the flare ribbons swept across a negative-polarity sunspot, and the penumbral segments of the sunspot decayed rapidly after the flare. We studied the magnetic topology at the flaring region, and the results showed the existence of a twisted flux rope, together with quasi-separatrix layer (QSL) structures binding the flux rope. Our observations imply that quasi-periodic slipping magnetic reconnection occurs along the flux-rope-related QSLs in the preflare stage, which drives the later eruption of the flux rope and the associated flare.« less
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