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  1. Context.The interaction between magnetic fields and convection in sunspots during their decay process remains poorly understood, whereas the formation of sunspots is relatively well studied and fully modeled. Works on the velocity scales at the solar surface have pointed to the existence of the family of granules, whose interaction with the magnetic field leads to the formation of supergranules and their networks, which are visible at the solar surface.

    Aims.The aim of this paper is to consider relationship between the decay of sunspots and convection via the motion of the family of granules and how the diffusion mechanism of magnetic field operates in a decaying sunspot.

    Methods.We report the decay of a sunspot observed by the 1.6 m Goode Solar Telescope (GST) with the TiO Broadband Filter Imager (BFI) and the Near-InfraRed Imaging Spectropolarimeter (NIRIS). The analysis was aided by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) on board the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO). In the first step, we followed the decay of the sunspot with HMI data over three days by constructing its evolving area and total magnetic flux. In the second step, the high spatial and temporal resolution of the GST instruments allowed us to analyze the causes of the decay of the sunspot. Afterward, we followed the emergence of granules in the moat region around the sunspot over six hours. The evolution of the trees of fragmenting granules (TFGs) was derived based on their relationship with the horizontal surface flows.

    Results.We find that the area and total magnetic flux display an exponential decrease over the course of the sunspot decay. We identified 22 moving magnetic features (MMFs) in the moats of pores, which is a signature of sunspot decay through diffusion. We note that the MMFs were constrained to follow the borders of TFGs during their journey away from the sunspot.

    Conclusions.The TFGs and their development contribute to the diffusion of the magnetic field outside the sunspot. The conclusion of our analysis shows the important role of the TFGs in sunspot decay. Finally, the family of granules evacuates the magnetic field.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2025
  2. Aims.Recurring jets are observed in the solar atmosphere. They can erupt intermittently over a long period of time. By the observation of intermittent jets, we wish to understand what causes the characteristics of the periodic eruptions.

    Methods.We report intermittent jets observed by the Goode Solar Telescope (GST) with the TiO Broadband Filter Imager (BFI), the Visible Imaging Spectrometer (VIS) in Hα, and the Near-InfraRed Imaging Spectropolarimeter (NIRIS). The analysis was aided and complemented by 1400 Å and 2796 Å data from the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS). These observational instruments allowed us to analyze the temporal characteristics of the jet events. By constructing the Hαdopplergrams, we found that the plasma first moves upward, but during the second phase of the jet, the plasma flows back. Working with time slice diagrams, we investigated the characteristics of the jet dynamics.

    Results.The jet continued for up to 4 h. The time-distance diagram shows that the peak of the jet has clear periodic-eruption characteristics (5 min) during 18:00 UT–18:50 UT. We also found a periodic brightening phenomenon (5 min) during the jet bursts in the observed bands in the transition region (1400 Å and 2796 Å), which may be a response to intermittent jets in the upper solar atmosphere. The time lag is 3 min. Evolutionary images in the TiO band revealed a horizontal movement of the granulation at the location of the jet. By comparison to the quiet region of the Sun, we found that the footpoint of the jet is enhanced at the center of the Hαspectral line profile, without significant changes in the line wings. This suggests prolonged heating at the footpoint of the jet. In the mixed-polarity magnetic field region of the jet, we observed the emergence of magnetic flux, its cancellation, and shear, indicating possible intermittent magnetic reconnection. This is confirmed by the nonlinear force-free field model, which was reconstructed using the magneto-friction method.

    Conclusions.The multiwavelength analysis indicates that the events we studied were triggered by magnetic reconnection that was caused by mixed-polarity magnetic fields. We suggest that the horizontal motion of the granulation in the photosphere drives the magnetic reconnection, which is modulated byp-mode oscillations.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  3. Abstract The acceleration and transport of energetic electrons during solar flares is one of the outstanding topics in solar physics. Recent X-ray and radio imaging and spectroscopy observations have provided diagnostics of the distribution of nonthermal electrons and suggested that, in certain flare events, electrons are primarily accelerated in the loop top and likely experience trapping and/or scattering effects. By combining the focused particle transport equation with magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of solar flares, we present a macroscopic particle model that naturally incorporates electron acceleration and transport. Our simulation results indicate that physical processes such as turbulent pitch-angle scattering can have important impacts on both electron acceleration in the loop top and transport in the flare loop, and their influences are highly energy-dependent. A spatial-dependent turbulent scattering with enhancement in the loop top can enable both efficient electron acceleration to high energies and transport of abundant electrons to the footpoints. We further generate spatially resolved synthetic hard X-ray (HXR) emission images and spectra, revealing both the loop-top and footpoint HXR sources. Similar to the observations, we show that the footpoint HXR sources are brighter and harder than the loop-top HXR source. We suggest that the macroscopic particle model provides new insights into understanding the connection between the observed loop-top and footpoint nonthermal emission sources by combining the particle model with dynamically evolving MHD simulations of solar flares. 
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  4. Abstract A number of double coronal X-ray sources have been observed during solar flares by RHESSI, where the two sources reside at different sides of the inferred reconnection site. However, where and how these X-ray-emitting electrons are accelerated remains unclear. Here we present the first model of the double coronal hard X-ray (HXR) sources, where electrons are accelerated by a pair of termination shocks driven by bidirectional fast reconnection outflows. We model the acceleration and transport of electrons in the flare region by numerically solving the Parker transport equation using velocity and magnetic fields from the macroscopic magnetohydrodynamic simulation of a flux rope eruption. We show that electrons can be efficiently accelerated by the termination shocks and high-energy electrons mainly concentrate around the two shocks. The synthetic HXR emission images display two distinct sources extending to >100 keV below and above the reconnection region, with the upper source much fainter than the lower one. The HXR energy spectra of the two coronal sources show similar spectral slopes, consistent with the observations. Our simulation results suggest that the flare termination shock can be a promising particle acceleration mechanism in explaining the double-source nonthermal emissions in solar flares. 
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  5. Abstract

    Generative adversarial networks (GANs) have been impactful on many problems and applications but suffer from unstable training. The Wasserstein GAN (WGAN) leverages the Wasserstein distance to avoid the caveats in the minmax two-player training of GANs but has other defects such as mode collapse and lack of metric to detect the convergence. We introduce a novel inferential Wasserstein GAN (iWGAN) model, which is a principled framework to fuse autoencoders and WGANs. The iWGAN model jointly learns an encoder network and a generator network motivated by the iterative primal-dual optimization process. The encoder network maps the observed samples to the latent space and the generator network maps the samples from the latent space to the data space. We establish the generalization error bound of the iWGAN to theoretically justify its performance. We further provide a rigorous probabilistic interpretation of our model under the framework of maximum likelihood estimation. The iWGAN, with a clear stopping criteria, has many advantages over other autoencoder GANs. The empirical experiments show that the iWGAN greatly mitigates the symptom of mode collapse, speeds up the convergence, and is able to provide a measurement of quality check for each individual sample. We illustrate the ability of the iWGAN by obtaining competitive and stable performances for benchmark datasets.

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  6. Photonic gauge potentials are crucial for manipulating charge-neutral photons like their counterpart electrons in the electromagnetic field, allowing the analogous Aharonov–Bohm effect in photonics and paving the way for critical applications such as photonic isolation. Normally, a gauge potential exhibits phase inversion along two opposite propagation paths. Here we experimentally demonstrate phonon-induced anomalous gauge potentials with noninverted gauge phases in a spatial-frequency space, where near-phase-matched nonlinear Brillouin scatterings enable such unique direction-dependent gauge phases. Based on this scheme, we construct photonic isolators in the frequency domain permitting nonreciprocal propagation of light along the frequency axis, where coherent phase control in the photonic isolator allows switching completely the directionality through an Aharonov–Bohm interferometer. Moreover, similar coherent controlled unidirectional frequency conversions are also illustrated. These results may offer a unique platform for a compact, integrated solution to implement synthetic-dimension devices for on-chip optical signal processing.

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    Aims. Flux ropes are generally believed to be core structures of solar eruptions that are significant for the space weather, but their formation mechanism remains intensely debated. We report on the formation of a tiny flux rope beneath clusters of active region loops on 2018 August 24. Methods. Combining the high-quality multiwavelength observations from multiple instruments, we studied the event in detail in the photosphere, chromosphere, and corona. Results. In the source region, the continual emergence of two positive polarities (P1 and P2) that appeared as two pores (A and B) is unambiguous. Interestingly, P2 and Pore B slowly approached P1 and Pore A, implying a magnetic flux convergence. During the emergence and convergence, P1 and P2 successively interacted with a minor negative polarity (N3) that emerged, which led to a continuous magnetic flux cancellation. As a result, the overlying loops became much sheared and finally evolved into a tiny twisted flux rope that was evidenced by a transient inverse S-shaped sigmoid, the twisted filament threads with blueshift and redshift signatures, and a hot channel. Conclusions. All the results show that the formation of the tiny flux rope in the center of the active region was closely associated with the continuous magnetic flux emergence, convergence, and cancellation in the photosphere. Hence, we suggest that the magnetic flux emergence, convergence, and cancellation are crucial for the formation of the tiny flux rope. 
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