Circular ribbon flares and homologous jets

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Abstract

Solar flare emissions in the chromosphere often appear as elongated ribbons on both sides of the magnetic polarity inversion line (PIL), which has been regarded as evidence of a typical configuration of magnetic reconnection. However, flares having a circular ribbon have rarely been reported, although it is expected in the fan-spine magnetic topology involving reconnection at a three-dimensional (3D) coronal null point. We present five circular ribbon flares with associated surges, using high-resolution and high-cadence Hα blue wing observations obtained from the recently digitized films of Big Bear Solar Observatory. In all the events, a central parasitic magnetic field is encompassed by the opposite polarity, forming a circular PIL traced by filament material. Consequently, a flare kernel at the center is surrounded by a circular flare ribbon. The four homologous jet-related flares on 1991 March 17 and 18 are of particular interest, as (1) the circular ribbons brighten sequentially, with cospatial surges, rather than simultaneously, (2) the central flare kernels show an intriguing "round-trip" motion and become elongated, and (3) remote brightenings occur at a region with the same magnetic polarity as the central parasitic field and are co-temporal with a separate phase of flare emissions. In another flare on 1991 February 25, the circular flare emission and surge activity occur successively, and the event could be associated with magnetic flux cancellation across the circular PIL. We discuss the implications of these observations combining circular flare ribbons, homologous jets, and remote brightenings for understanding the dynamics of 3D magnetic restructuring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume760
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • Sun: activity
  • Sun: flares
  • Sun: magnetic topology

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