A reconnecting current sheet imaged in a solar flare

Rui Liu, Jeongwoo Lee, Tongjiang Wang, Guillermo Stenborg, Chang Liu, Haimin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations

Abstract

Magnetic reconnection changes the magnetic field topology and powers explosive events in astrophysical, space, and laboratory plasmas. For flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) in the solar atmosphere, the standard model predicts the presence of a reconnecting current sheet, which has been the subject of considerable theoretical and numerical modeling over the last 50 years, yet direct, unambiguous observational verification has been absent. In this Letter, we show a bright sheet structure of global length (>0.25R ) and macroscopic width ((5-10)×103 km) distinctly above the cusp-shaped flaring loop, imaged during the flare rising phase in EUV. The sheet formed due to the stretch of a transequatorial loop system and was accompanied by various reconnection signatures. This unique event provides a comprehensive view of the reconnection geometry and dynamics in the solar corona.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L28-L33
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume723
Issue number1 PART 2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs)
  • Sun: flare

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