Buildup and release of magnetic twist during the x3.4 solar flare of 2006 December 13

S. Inoue, D. Shiota, T. T. Yamamoto, V. S. Pandey, T. Magara, G. S. Choe

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37 Scopus citations


We analyze the temporal evolution of the three-dimensional magnetic structure of the flaring active region (AR) NOAA 10930 by using the nonlinear force-free fields extrapolated from the photospheric vector magnetic fields observed by the Solar Optical Telescope on board Hinode. This AR consisted mainly of two types of twisted magnetic field lines: one has a strong negative (left-handed) twist due to the counterclockwise motion of the positive sunspot and is rooted in the regions of both polarities in the sunspot at a considerable distance from the polarity inversion line (PIL). In the flare phase, dramatic magnetic reconnection occurs in those negatively twisted lines in which the absolute value of the twist is greater than a half-turn. The other type consists of both positively and negatively twisted field lines formed relatively close to the PIL between two sunspots. A strong Ca II image began to brighten in this region of mixed polarity, in which the positively twisted field lines were found to be injected within one day across the pre-existing negatively twisted region, along which strong currents were embedded. Consequently, the central region near the PIL contains a mix of differently twisted field lines and the strong currents may play a prominent role in flare onset.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 20 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: activity
  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: flares


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