skip to main content


Title: Magnetic Reconnection Rate in the M6.5 Solar Flare on 2015 June 22
Abstract

Magnetic reconnection is regarded as the mechanism for the rapid release of magnetic energy stored in active regions during solar flares, and quantitative measurements of the magnetic reconnection rate are essential for understanding solar flares. In the context of the standard two-ribbon flare model, we derive the coronal magnetic reconnection rate of the M6.5 flare on 2015 June 22 in two terms, reconnection flux change rate and reconnection electric field, both of which can be obtained from observations of the flare morphology. Data used include a sequence of chromospheric Hαimages with unprecedented resolution during the flare from the Visual Imaging Spectrometer of the Goode Solar Telescope (GST) at the Big Bear Solar Observatory and a preflare line-of-sight photospheric magnetogram from the GST Near-InfraRed Imaging Spectropolarimeter along with hard X-ray data from the Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager. The temporal correlation between the magnetic reconnection rate and nonthermal emission is found, and the variation of the reconnection electric field is mainly determined by the ribbon speed, not by the local magnetic field encountered by the ribbon front. Spatially, the hard X-ray source overlaps with the location of the strongest electric field obtained at the same time. The ribbon motion shows abundant fine structures, including a local acceleration at the location of a light bridge with a weaker magnetic field.

 
more » « less
Award ID(s):
2309939 2114201 2206424 1821294
NSF-PAR ID:
10423791
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Volume:
950
Issue:
2
ISSN:
0004-637X
Format(s):
Medium: X Size: Article No. 144
Size(s):
["Article No. 144"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Magnetic reconnection is understood to be the main physical process that facilitates the transformation of magnetic energy into heat, motion, and particle acceleration during solar eruptions. Yet, observational constraints on reconnection region properties and dynamics are limited due to a lack of high-cadence and high-spatial-resolution observations. By studying the evolution and morphology of postreconnected field-lines footpoints, or flare ribbons and vector photospheric magnetic field, we estimate the magnetic reconnection flux and its rate of change with time to study the flare reconnection process and dynamics of the current sheet above. We compare high-resolution imaging data to study the evolution of the fine structure in flare ribbons as ribbons spread away from the polarity inversion line. Using data from two illustrative events (one M- and X-class flare), we explore the relationship between the ribbon-front fine structure and the temporal development of bursts in the reconnection region. Additionally, we use theRibbonDBdatabase to perform statistical analysis of 73 (C- to X-class) flares and identify quasiperiodic pulsation (QPP) properties using the Wavelet Transform. Our main finding is the discovery of QPP signatures in the derived magnetic reconnection rates in both example events and the large flare sample. We find that the oscillation periods range from 1 to 4 minutes. Furthermore, we find nearly cotemporal bursts in Hard X-ray (HXR) emission profiles. We discuss how dynamical processes in the current sheet involving plasmoids can explain the nearly cotemporal signatures of quasiperiodicity in the reconnection rates and HXR emission.

     
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    We analyze the structure and evolution of ribbons from the M7.3 SOL2014-04-18T13 flare using ultraviolet images from the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph and the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)/Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), magnetic data from the SDO/Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager, hard X-ray (HXR) images from the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, and light curves from the Fermi/Gamma-ray Burst Monitor, in order to infer properties of coronal magnetic reconnection. As the event progresses, two flare ribbons spread away from the magnetic polarity inversion line. The width of the newly brightened front along the extension of the ribbon is highly intermittent in both space and time, presumably reflecting nonuniformities in the structure and/or dynamics of the flare current sheet. Furthermore, the ribbon width grows most rapidly in regions exhibiting concentrated nonthermal HXR emission, with sharp increases slightly preceding the HXR bursts. The light curve of the ultraviolet emission matches the HXR light curve at photon energies above 25 keV. In other regions the ribbon-width evolution and light curves do not temporally correlate with the HXR emission. This indicates that the production of nonthermal electrons is highly nonuniform within the flare current sheet. Our results suggest a strong connection between the production of nonthermal electrons and the locally enhanced perpendicular extent of flare ribbon fronts, which in turn reflects the inhomogeneous structure and/or reconnection dynamics of the current sheet. Despite this variability, the ribbon fronts remain nearly continuous, quasi-one-dimensional features. Thus, although the reconnecting coronal current sheets are highly structured, they remain quasi-two-dimensional and the magnetic energy release occurs systematically, rather than stochastically, through the volume of the reconnecting magnetic flux.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    We develop the impulsiveness index, a new classification system for solar flares using the Solar Dynamics Observatory/Extreme Ultraviolet Experiment 304 Å Sun-as-a-star light curves. Impulsiveness classifies events based on the duration and intensity of the initial high-energy deposition of energy into the chromosphere. In stellar flareU-band light curves, Kowalski et al. found that impulsiveness is related to quantities such as a proxy for the Balmer jump ratio. However, the lack of direct spatial resolution in stellar flares limits our ability to explain this phenomenon. We calculate impulsiveness for 1368 solar flares between 2010 April and 2014 May. We divide events into categories of low, mid, and high impulsiveness. We find, in a sample of 480 flares, that events with high maximum reconnection rate tend to also have high impulsiveness. For six case studies, we compare impulsiveness to magnetic shear, ribbon evolution, and energy release. We find that the end of the 304 Å light-curve rise phase in these case studies corresponds to the cessation of polarity inversion line (PIL)-parallel ribbon motion, while PIL-perpendicular motion persists afterward in most cases. The measured guide-field ratio for low- and mid-impulsiveness case-study flares decreases about an order of magnitude during the impulsive flare phase. Finally, we find that, in four of the six case studies, flares with higher, more persistent shear tend to have low impulsiveness. Our study suggests that impulsiveness may be related to other properties of the impulsive phase, though more work is needed to verify this relationship and apply our findings to stellar flare physics.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    When and where the magnetic field energy is released and converted in eruptive solar flares remains an outstanding topic in solar physics. To shed light on this question, here we report multiwavelength observations of a C9.4-class eruptive limb flare that occurred on 2017 August 20. The flare, accompanied by a magnetic flux rope eruption and a white light coronal mass ejection, features three post-impulsive X-ray and microwave bursts immediately following its main impulsive phase. For each burst, both microwave and X-ray imaging suggest that the nonthermal electrons are located in the above-the-loop-top region. Interestingly, contrary to many other flares, the peak flux of the three post-impulsive microwave and X-ray bursts shows an increase for later bursts. Spectral analysis reveals that the sources have a hardening spectral index, suggesting a more efficient electron acceleration into the later post-impulsive bursts. We observe a positive correlation between the acceleration of the magnetic flux rope and the nonthermal energy release during the post-impulsive bursts in the same event. Intriguingly, different from some other eruptive events, this correlation does not hold for the main impulse phase of this event, which we interpret as energy release due to the tether-cutting reconnection before the primary flux rope acceleration occurs. In addition, using footpoint brightenings at conjugate flare ribbons, a weakening reconnection guide field is inferred, which may also contribute to the hardening of the nonthermal electrons during the post-impulsive phase.

     
    more » « less
  5. Aims.The aim of this work is to identify the mechanism driving pulsations in hard X-ray (HXR) and microwave emission during solar flares. Using combined HXR and microwave observations from Solar Orbiter/STIX and EOVSA, we investigate an X1.3 GOES class flare, 2022-03-30T17:21:00, which displays pulsations on timescales evolving from ∼7 s in the impulsive phase to ∼35 s later in the flare.

    Methods.We analysed the temporal, spatial, and spectral evolution of the HXR and microwave pulsations during the impulsive phase of the flare. We reconstructed images for individual peaks in the impulsive phase and performed spectral fitting at high cadence throughout the first phase of pulsations.

    Results.Our imaging analysis demonstrates that the HXR and microwave emission originates from multiple sites along the flare ribbons. The brightest sources and the location of the emission change in time. Through HXR spectral analysis, the electron spectral index is found to be anti-correlated with the HXR flux, showing a “soft-hard-soft” spectral index evolution for each pulsation. The timing of the associated filament eruption coincides with the early impulsive phase.

    Conclusions.Our results indicate that periodic acceleration and/or injection of electrons from multiple sites along the flare arcade is responsible for the pulsations observed in HXR and microwave emission. The evolution of pulsation timescales is likely a result of changes in the 3D magnetic field configuration over time related to the associated filament eruption.

     
    more » « less