Evidence of two-stage magnetic reconnection in the 2005 January 15 X2.6 flare

Pu Wang, Yixuan Li, Mingde Ding, Haisheng Ji, Haimin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We analyze in detail the X2.6 flare that occurred on 2005 January 15 in the NOAA AR 10720 using multiwavelength observations. There are several interesting properties of the flare that reveal possible two-stage magnetic reconnection similar to that in the physical picture of tether-cutting, where the magnetic fields of two separate loop systems reconnect at the flare core region, and subsequently a large flux rope forms, erupts, and breaks open the overlying arcade fields. The observed manifestations include: (1) remote Hα brightenings appear minutes before the main phase of the flare; (2) separation of the flare ribbons has a slow and a fast phase, and the flare hard X-ray emission appears in the later fast phase; (3) rapid transverse field enhancement near the magnetic polarity inversion line (PIL) is found to be associated with the flare. We conclude that the flare occurrence fits the tether-cutting reconnection picture in a special way, in which there are three flare ribbons outlining the sigmoid configuration. We also discuss this event in the context of what was predicted by Hudson et al. (2008), where the Lorentz force near the flaring PIL drops after the flare and consequently the magnetic field lines there turn to be more horizontal as we observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-476
Number of pages7
JournalNew Astronomy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: activity
  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: flares
  • Sun: magnetic fields


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