Volume 416, Number 1, March II 2004
|Page(s)||323 - 332|
|Published online||26 February 2004|
Soft X-ray analysis of a loop flare on the Sun
Tuorla Observatory (Tuorla Observatory is part of the Väisälä Institute for Space Physics and Astronomy (VISPA), University of Turku.) , University of Turku, Väisäläntie 20, 21500 Piikkiö, Finland
2 Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, Centennial Drive, CA 94720-7450, USA
3 Observatoire de Paris, Section de Meudon, LESIA, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France
Corresponding author: J. I. Khan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 26 November 2003
We present the results of an analysis of soft X-ray images for a solar flare which occurred on 1992 July 11. This flare, as seen in Yohkoh Soft X-ray Telescope (SXT) images was of comparatively simple geometry, consisting of two bright footpoints early in the flare with a bright loop seen later in the flare. We examine how closely this flare compares with the supposed paradigm of a confined simple-loop flare. Closer examination of the SXT images reveals that the flare structure consisted of at least two adjacent loops, one much fainter than the other. We examine the brighter of the two soft X-ray loops. The SXT images reveal an apparent slow, northward motion of this loop (roughly transverse to its major axis). Examination of derived emission measure and temperature images also indicate an apparent northward motion. In addition, we find an increase in the cross-sectional width at the top of the loop with time. Emission measure maps derived from the SXT images also indicates an apparent broadening of the loop-top region. We infer that the apparent northward motion and the apparent broadening of the soft X-ray emission can be explained in a reconnection scenario where successive magnetic field structures do not lie in a plane but are tilted to the south of the line of sight but with successively brightening loops oriented at less tilted angles. Hα images for this flare reveal an evolution from a few brilliant points to a short two-ribbon-like appearance. Comparison of the SXT images with the Hα images shows that the Hα patches are aligned with the footpoints of the soft X-ray loops, suggesting the presence of a small arcade structure. There is no clear evidence for an eruptive signature in our observations nor in reports from other observations. The lack of an eruptive signature could suggest that the flare may have been a confined simple-loop flare, but this is not compelling due to a gap in the coronal observations prior to and early in the event. Analysis of our observations indicate that the flare exhibited characteristics suggesting that it may be better understood as a mini-arcade flare. These results casts doubt on the validity of the supposed paradigm of a confined simple-loop flare, at least for this flare. They indicate that even an apparently simple-loop flare may be considered to be a variety of arcade flare. We also find an effect which, to our knowledge, has not been reported before: the hot flaring regions later become cooler than the surrounding quiescent corona. That is, the flare loops do not evolve into bright active region loops, but into cooler loops. This may indicate an increase in the efficiency of the cooling mechanism or a transformed equilibrium state within the flaring loops.
Key words: Sun: corona / Sun: flares / Sun: X-rays, gamma rays
© ESO, 2004
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