A Large-scale Plume in an X-class Solar Flare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Ever-increasing multi-frequency imaging of solar observations suggests that solar flares often involve more than one magnetic fluxtube. Some of the fluxtubes are closed, while others can contain open fields. The relative proportion of nonthermal electrons among those distinct loops is highly important for understanding energy release, particle acceleration, and transport. The access of nonthermal electrons to the open field is also important because the open field facilitates the solar energetic particle (SEP) escape from the flaring site, and thus controls the SEP fluxes in the solar system, both directly and as seed particles for further acceleration. The large-scale fluxtubes are often filled with a tenuous plasma, which is difficult to detect in either EUV or X-ray wavelengths; however, they can dominate at low radio frequencies, where a modest component of nonthermal electrons can render the source optically thick and, thus, bright enough to be observed. Here we report the detection of a large-scale "plume" at the impulsive phase of an X-class solar flare, SOL2001-08-25T16:23, using multi-frequency radio data from Owens Valley Solar Array. To quantify the flare's spatial structure, we employ 3D modeling utilizing force-free-field extrapolations from the line of sight SOHO/MDI magnetograms with our modeling tool GX-Simulator. We found that a significant fraction of the nonthermal electrons that accelerated at the flare site low in the corona escapes to the plume, which contains both closed and open fields. We propose that the proportion between the closed and open fields at the plume is what determines the SEP population escaping into interplanetary space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number135
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 20 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: flares
  • Sun: magnetic fields
  • Sun: particle emission
  • Sun: radio radiation
  • acceleration of particles


Dive into the research topics of 'A Large-scale Plume in an X-class Solar Flare'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this