Characteristics of the photospheric magnetic field associated with solar flare initiation

Ya Hui Yang, P. F. Chen, Min Shiu Hsieh, S. T. Wu, Han He, Tsung Che Tsai

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16 Scopus citations

Abstract

The physical environment governing the solar flare initiation is not fully understood, although there are significant efforts to address the relationship between magnetic non-potential parameters and early flare signatures. In this study, we attempt to characterize the flare initiation based on the processed Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager vector magnetograms, Atmospheric Imaging Assembly 1600 Å, and RHESSI hard X-ray observations. Three flare events, the M6.6 flare on 2011 February 13, the X2.2 flare on 2011 February 15, and the X2.1 flare on 2011 September 6, in two active regions AR 11158 and AR 11283 are investigated. We analyze the source field strength in the photosphere, which is defined as the magnitude of the observed magnetic field deviation from the potential field. It is found that one of the strong source field regions above the magnetic polarity inversion line well connects the initial bright kernels of two conjugate ribbons. The results imply that the distribution of the photospheric source field strength can be used to locate the initiation site of flaring loops regardless of the configuration of pre-flare magnetic fields or the evolution of active regions. Moreover, the field configuration in the strong source field regions tends to become more inclined after flares, which is consistent with the coronal implosion scenario. We also employ a fast method to derive the total current density from the photospheric vector magnetogram in the framework of force-free field. This method can provide fast estimation of photospheric current density within a reasonable accuracy without appealing for the more accurate calculation from a model extrapolation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number72
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume786
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2014

Keywords

  • gamma rays
  • Sun: flares Sun: magnetic fields Sun: X-rays

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