Radio evidence for breakout reconnection in solar eruptive events
Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP),
2 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 671, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
3 INAF – Trieste Astronomical Observatory (OAT), via G.B. Tiepolo 11, 34143 Trieste, Italy
Received: 15 January 2013
Accepted: 21 May 2013
Context. Magnetic reconnection is understood to be fundamental to energy release in solar eruptive events (SEEs). In these events reconnection produces a magnetic flux rope above an arcade of hot flare loops. Breakout reconnection, a secondary reconnection high in the corona between this flux rope and the overlying magnetic field, has been hypothesized. Direct observational evidence for breakout reconnection has been elusive, however.
Aims. The aim of this study is to establish a plausible interpretation of the combined radio and hard X-ray (HXR) emissions observed during the impulsive phase of the near-limb X3.9-class SEE on 2003 November 03.
Methods. We study radio spectra (AIP), simultaneous radio images (Nançay Multi-frequency Radio Heliograph, NRH), and single-frequency polarimeter data (OAT). The radio emission is nonthermal plasma radiation with a complex structure in frequency and time. Emphasis is on the time interval when the HXR flare loop height was observed by the Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) to be at its minimum and an X-ray source was observed above the top of the arcade loops.
Results. Two stationary, meter-wavelength sources are observed radially aligned at 0.18 and 0.41 R⊙ above the active region and HXR sources. The lower source is apparently associated with the upper reconnection jet of the flare current sheet (CS), and the upper source is apparently associated with breakout reconnection. Sources observed at lower radio frequencies surround the upper source at the expected locations of the breakout reconnection jets.
Conclusions. We believe the upper radio source is the most compelling evidence to date for the onset of breakout reconnection during a SEE. The height stationarity of the breakout sources and their dynamic radio spectrum discriminate them from propagating disturbances. Timing and location arguments reveal for the first time that both the earlier described above the flare loop top HXR source and the lower radio source are emission from the upper reconnection jet above the vertical flare CS.
Key words: Sun: radio radiation / Sun: X-rays, gamma rays / Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs) / Sun: magnetic topology / Sun: flares / Sun: corona
© ESO, 2013