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  1. Abstract

    Flare-associated quasiperiodic pulsations (QPPs) in radio and X-ray wavelengths, particularly those related to nonthermal electrons, contain important information about the energy release and transport processes during flares. However, the paucity of spatially resolved observations of such QPPs with a fast time cadence has been an obstacle for us to further understand their physical nature. Here, we report observations of such a QPP event that occurred during the impulsive phase of a C1.8-class eruptive solar flare using radio imaging spectroscopy data from the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and complementary X-ray imaging and spectroscopy data. The radio QPPs, observed by the VLA in the 1–2 GHz with a subsecond cadence, are shown as three spatially distinct sources with different physical characteristics. Two radio sources are located near the conjugate footpoints of the erupting magnetic flux rope with opposite senses of polarization. One of the sources displays a QPP behavior with a ∼5 s period. The third radio source, located at the top of the postflare arcade, coincides with the location of an X-ray source and shares a similar period of ∼25–45 s. We show that the two oppositely polarized radio sources are likely due to coherent electron cyclotronmore »maser emission. On the other hand, the looptop QPP source, observed in both radio and X-rays, is consistent with incoherent gyrosynchrotron and bremsstrahlung emission, respectively. We conclude that the concurrent, but spatially distinct QPP sources must involve multiple mechanisms which operate in different magnetic loop systems and at different periods.

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  2. Abstract

    Magnetic flux ropes are the centerpiece of solar eruptions. Direct measurements for the magnetic field of flux ropes are crucial for understanding the triggering and energy release processes, yet they remain heretofore elusive. Here we report microwave imaging spectroscopy observations of an M1.4-class solar flare that occurred on 2017 September 6, using data obtained by the Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array. This flare event is associated with a partial eruption of a twisted filament observed in Hαby the Goode Solar Telescope at the Big Bear Solar Observatory. The extreme ultraviolet (EUV) and X-ray signatures of the event are generally consistent with the standard scenario of eruptive flares, with the presence of double flare ribbons connected by a bright flare arcade. Intriguingly, this partial eruption event features a microwave counterpart, whose spatial and temporal evolution closely follow the filament seen in Hαand EUV. The spectral properties of the microwave source are consistent with nonthermal gyrosynchrotron radiation. Using spatially resolved microwave spectral analysis, we derive the magnetic field strength along the filament spine, which ranges from 600 to 1400 Gauss from its apex to the legs. The results agree well with the nonlinear force-free magnetic model extrapolated from the preflare photosphericmore »magnetogram. We conclude that the microwave counterpart of the erupting filament is likely due to flare-accelerated electrons injected into the filament-hosting magnetic flux rope cavity following the newly reconnected magnetic field lines.

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  3. Abstract Quasi-periodic pulsations (QPPs) are frequently detected in solar and stellar flares, but the underlying physical mechanisms are still to be ascertained. Here, we show microwave QPPs during a solar flare originating from quasi-periodic magnetic reconnection at the flare current sheet. They appear as two vertically detached but closely related sources with the brighter ones located at flare loops and the weaker ones along the stretched current sheet. Although the brightness temperatures of the two microwave sources differ greatly, they vary in phase with periods of about 10–20 s and 30–60 s. The gyrosynchrotron-dominated microwave spectra also present a quasi-periodic soft-hard-soft evolution. These results suggest that relevant high-energy electrons are accelerated by quasi-periodic reconnection, likely arising from the modulation of magnetic islands within the current sheet as validated by a 2.5-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic simulation.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  4. Abstract Solar flares, driven by prompt release of free magnetic energy in the solar corona 1,2 , are known to accelerate a substantial portion (ten per cent or more) 3,4 of available electrons to high energies. Hard X-rays, produced by high-energy electrons accelerated in the flare 5 , require a high ambient density for their detection. This restricts the observed volume to denser regions that do not necessarily sample the entire volume of accelerated electrons 6 . Here we report evolving spatially resolved distributions of thermal and non-thermal electrons in a solar flare derived from microwave observations that show the true extent of the acceleration region. These distributions show a volume filled with only (or almost only) non-thermal electrons while being depleted of the thermal plasma, implying that all electrons have experienced a prominent acceleration there. This volume is isolated from a surrounding, more typical flare plasma of mainly thermal particles with a smaller proportion of non-thermal electrons. This highly efficient acceleration happens in the same volume in which the free magnetic energy is being released 2 .
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 23, 2023
  5. Abstract The X8.2-class limb flare on 2017 September 10 is among the best studied solar flare events owing to its great similarity to the standard flare model and the broad coverage by multiple spacecraft and ground-based observations. These multiwavelength observations indicate that electron acceleration and transport are efficient in the reconnection and flare looptop regions. However, there lacks a comprehensive model for explaining and interpreting the multi-faceted observations. In this work, we model the electron acceleration and transport in the early impulsive phase of this flare. We solve the Parker transport equation that includes the primary acceleration mechanism during magnetic reconnection in the large-scale flare region modeled by MHD simulations. We find that electrons are accelerated up to several MeV and fill a large volume of the reconnection region, similar to the observations shown in microwaves. The electron spatial distribution and spectral shape in the looptop region agree well with those derived from the microwave and hard X-ray emissions before magnetic islands grow large and dominate the acceleration. Future emission modelings using the electron maps will enable direct comparison with microwave and hard X-ray observations. These results shed new light on the electron acceleration and transport in a broad regionmore »of solar flares within a data-constrained realistic flare geometry.« less
  6. Abstract Extreme-ultraviolet late phase (ELP) refers to the second extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) radiation enhancement observed in certain solar flares, which usually occurs tens of minutes to several hours after the peak of soft X-ray emission. The coronal loop system that hosts the ELP emission is often different from the main flaring arcade, and the enhanced EUV emission therein may imply an additional heating process. However, the origin of the ELP remains rather unclear. Here we present the analysis of a C1.4 flare that features such an ELP, which is also observed in microwave wavelengths by the Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array. Similar to the case of the ELP, we find a gradual microwave enhancement that occurs about 3 minutes after the main impulsive phase microwave peaks. Radio sources coincide with both foot points of the ELP loops and spectral fits on the time-varying microwave spectra demonstrate a clear deviation of the electron distribution from the Maxwellian case, which could result from injected nonthermal electrons or nonuniform heating to the footpoint plasma. We further point out that the delayed microwave enhancement suggests the presence of an additional heating process, which could be responsible for the evaporation of heated plasma that fills themore »ELP loops, producing the prolonged ELP emission.« less
  7. Abstract Even small solar flares can display a surprising level of complexity regarding their morphology and temporal evolution. Many of their properties, such as energy release and electron acceleration can be studied using highly complementary observations at X-ray and radio wavelengths. We present X-ray observations from the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager and radio observations from the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) of a series of GOES A3.4–B1.6 class flares observed on 2013 April 23. The flares, as seen in X-ray and extreme ultraviolet, originated from multiple locations within active region NOAA 11726. A veritable zoo of different radio emissions between 1 GHz and 2 GHz was observed cotemporally with the X-ray flares. In addition to broadband continuum emission, broadband short-lived bursts and narrowband spikes, indicative of accelerated electrons, were observed. However, these sources were located up to 150″ away from the flaring X-ray sources but only some of these emissions could be explained as signatures of electrons that were accelerated near the main flare site. For other sources, no obvious magnetic connection to the main flare site could be found. These emissions likely originate from secondary acceleration sites triggered by the flare, but may bemore »due to reconnection and acceleration completely unrelated to the cotemporally observed flare. Thanks to the extremely high sensitivity of the VLA, not achieved with current X-ray instrumentation, it is shown that particle acceleration happens frequently and at multiple locations within a flaring active region.« less
  8. By direct measurements of the gas temperature, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has yielded a new diagnostic tool to study the solar chromosphere. Here, we present an overview of the brightness-temperature fluctuations from several high-quality and high-temporal-resolution (i.e. 1 and 2 s cadence) time series of images obtained during the first 2 years of solar observations with ALMA, in Band 3 and Band 6, centred at around 3 mm (100 GHz) and 1.25 mm (239 GHz), respectively. The various datasets represent solar regions with different levels of magnetic flux. We perform fast Fourier and Lomb–Scargle transforms to measure both the spatial structuring of dominant frequencies and the average global frequency distributions of the oscillations (i.e. averaged over the entire field of view). We find that the observed frequencies significantly vary from one dataset to another, which is discussed in terms of the solar regions captured by the observations (i.e. linked to their underlying magnetic topology). While the presence of enhanced power within the frequency range 3–5 mHz is found for the most magnetically quiescent datasets, lower frequencies dominate when there is significant influence from strong underlying magnetic field concentrations (present inside and/or in the immediate vicinity of the observed field of view). We discuss heremore »a number of reasons which could possibly contribute to the power suppression at around 5.5 mHz in the ALMA observations. However, it remains unclear how other chromospheric diagnostics (with an exception of H α line-core intensity) are unaffected by similar effects, i.e. they show very pronounced 3-min oscillations dominating the dynamics of the chromosphere, whereas only a very small fraction of all the pixels in the 10 ALMA datasets analysed here show peak power near 5.5 mHz. This article is part of the Theo Murphy meeting issue ‘High-resolution wave dynamics in the lower solar atmosphere’.« less