Volume 613, May 2018
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Published online||01 June 2018|
Observations of white-light flares in NOAA active region 11515: high occurrence rate and relationship with magnetic transients★
School of Earth and Space Sciences, Peking University,
2 State Key Laboratory of Space Weather, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, PR China
3 Key Laboratory of Solar Activity, National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100012, PR China
4 School of Astronomy and Space Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, PR China
5 School of Astronomy and Space Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, PR China
Accepted: 25 January 2018
Aims. There are two goals in this study. One is to investigate how frequently white-light flares (WLFs) occur in a flare-productive active region (NOAA active region 11515). The other is to investigate the relationship between WLFs and magnetic transients (MTs).
Methods. We used the high-cadence (45 s) full-disk continuum filtergrams and line-of-sight magnetograms taken by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) to identify WLFs and MTs, respectively. Images taken by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) on board SDO were also used to show the flare morphology in the upper atmosphere.
Results. We found at least 20 WLFs out of a total of 70 flares above C class (28.6%) in NOAA active region 11515 during its passage across the solar disk (E45°–W45°). Each of these WLFs occurred in a small region, with a short duration of about 5 min. The enhancement of the white-light continuum intensity is usually small, with an average enhancement of 8.1%. The 20 WLFs we observed were found along an unusual configuration of the magnetic field that was characterized by a narrow ribbon of negative field. Furthermore, the WLFs were found to be accompanied by MTs, with radical changes in magnetic field strength (or even a sign reversal) observed during the flare. In contrast, there is no obvious signature of MTs in the 50 flares without white-light enhancements.
Conclusions. Our results suggest that WLFs occur much more frequently than previously thought, with most WLFs being fairly weak enhancements. This may explain why WLFs are reported rarely. Our observations also suggest that MTs and WLFs are closely related and appear cospatial and cotemporal, when considering HMI data. A greater enhancement of WL emission is often accompanied by a greater change in the line-of-sight component of the unsigned magnetic field. Considering the close relationship between MTs and WLFs, many previously reported flares with MTs may be WLFs.
Key words: Sun: activity / Sun: magnetic fields / Sun: flares / Sun: photosphere / Sun: chromosphere
The movie is available at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO 2018
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