We compare two contrasting X-class flares in terms of magnetic free energy, relative magnetic helicity and decay index of the active regions (ARs) in which they occurred. The events in question are the eruptive X2.2 flare from AR 11158 accompanied by a halo coronal mass ejection (CME) and the confined X3.1 flare from AR 12192 with no associated CME. These two flares exhibit similar behavior of free magnetic energy and helicity buildup for a few days preceding them. A major difference between the two flares is found to lie in the time-dependent change of magnetic helicity of the ARs that hosted them. AR 11158 shows a significant decrease in magnetic helicity starting ∼4 hours prior to the flare, but no apparent decrease in helicity is observed in AR 12192. By examining the magnetic helicity injection rates in terms of sign, we confirmed that the drastic decrease in magnetic helicity before the eruptive X2.2 flare was not caused by the injection of reversed helicity through the photosphere but rather the CME-related change in the coronal magnetic field. Another major difference we find is that AR 11158 had a significantly larger decay index and therefore weaker overlying field than AR 12192. These results suggest that the coronal magnetic helicity and the decay index of the overlying field can provide a clue about the occurrence of CMEs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science
- Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs)
- Sun: evolution
- Sun: flares
- Sun: magnetic topology