Fine structure of flare ribbons and evolution of electric currents

I. N. Sharykin, A. G. Kosovichev

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35 Scopus citations


Emission of solar flares across the electromagnetic spectrum is often observed in the form of two expanding ribbons. The standard flare model explains flare ribbons as footpoints of magnetic arcades, emitting due to interaction of energetic particles with the chromospheric plasma. However, the physics of this interaction and properties of the accelerated particles are still unknown. We present results of multiwavelength observations of the C2.1 flare of 2013 August 15, observed with the New Solar Telescope of the Big Bear Solar Observatory, and the Solar Dynamics Observatory, GOES, and Fermi spacecraft. The observations reveal previously unresolved sub-arcsecond structure of flare ribbons in regions of strong magnetic field consisting from numerous small-scale bright knots. We observe a red-blue asymmetry of Hα flare ribbons with a width as small as 100 km. We discuss the relationship between the ribbons and vertical electric currents estimated from vector magnetograms, and show that Joule heating can be responsible for energization of Hαknots in the ribbons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL18
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 10 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: flares
  • Sun: magnetic fields


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