Early abnormal temperature structure of X-ray loop-top source of solar flares

Jinhua Shen, Tuanhui Zhou, Haisheng Ji, Na Wang, Wenda Cao, Haimin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This Letter is to investigate the physics of a newly discovered phenomenon-contracting flare loops in the early phase of solar flares. In classical flare models, which were constructed based on the phenomenon of the expansion of flare loops, an energy releasing site is put above flare loops. These models can predict that there is a vertical temperature gradient in the top of flare loops due to heat conduction and cooling effects. Therefore, the centroid of an X-ray loop-top source at higher energy bands will be higher in altitude, which we can define as the normal temperature distribution. With observations made by RHESSI, we analyzed 10 M-or X-class flares (9 limb flares). For all these flares, the movement of loop-top sources shows an obvious U-shaped trajectory, which we take as the signature of contraction-to-expansion of flare loops. We find that, for all these flares, a normal temperature distribution does exist, but only along the path of expansion. The temperature distribution along the path of contraction is abnormal, showing no spatial order at all. The result suggests that magnetic reconnection processes in the contraction and expansion phases of these solar flares are different.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L37-L40
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Color figures
  • Flares
  • Gamma rays online material
  • Magnetic fields
  • Sun
  • X-rays


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