The magnetic structure and generation of EUV flare ribbons

Fletcher, L. and Hudson, H. (2001) The magnetic structure and generation of EUV flare ribbons. Solar Physics, 204(1-2), pp. 69-89. (doi:10.1023/A:1014275821318)

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The 'ribbons' of two-ribbon flares show complicated patterns reflecting the linkages of coronal magnetic field lines through the lower solar atmosphere. We describe the morphology of the EUV ribbons of the July 14, 2000 flare, as seen in SOHO, TRACE, and Yohkoh data, from this point of view. A successful co-alignment of the TRACE, SOHO/MDI and Yohkoh/HXT data has allowed us to locate the EUV ribbon positions on the underlying field to within ~2", and thus to investigate the relationship between the ribbons and the field, and also the sites of electron precipitation. We have also made a determination of the longitudinal magnetic flux involved in the flare reconnection event, an important parameter in flare energetic considerations. There are several respects in which the observations differ from what would be expected in the commonly-adopted models for flares. Firstly, the flare ribbons differ in fine structure from the (line-of-sight) magnetic field patterns underlying them, apparently propagating through regions of very weak and probably mixed polarity. Secondly, the ribbons split or bifurcate. Thirdly, the amount of line-of-sight flux passed over by the ribbons in the negative and positive fields is not equal. Fourthly, the strongest hard X-ray sources are observed to originate in stronger field regions. Based on a comparison between HXT and EUV time-profiles we suggest that emission in the EUV ribbons is caused by electron bombardment of the lower atmosphere, supporting the hypothesis that flare ribbons map out the chromospheric footpoints of magnetic field lines newly linked by reconnection. We describe the interpretation of our observations within the standard model, and the implications for the distribution of magnetic fields in this active region.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fletcher, Professor Lyndsay
Authors: Fletcher, L., and Hudson, H.
Subjects:Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Solar Physics
Publisher:Springer Verlag
ISSN (Online):1573-093X

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