Flux rope, hyperbolic flux tube, and late extreme ultraviolet phases in a non-eruptive circular-ribbon flare

Sophie Masson, Étienne Pariat, Gherardo Valori, Na Deng, Chang Liu, Haimin Wang, Hamish Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Context. The dynamics of ultraviolet (UV) emissions during solar flares provides constraints on the physical mechanisms involved in the trigger and the evolution of flares. In particular it provides some information on the location of the reconnection sites and the associated magnetic fluxes. In this respect, confined flares are far less understood than eruptive flares generating coronal mass ejections. Aims. We present a detailed study of a confined circular flare dynamics associated with three UV late phases in order to understand more precisely which topological elements are present and how they constrain the dynamics of the flare. Methods. We perform a non-linear force-free field extrapolation of the confined flare observed with the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) and Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) instruments on board Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). From the 3D magnetic field we compute the squashing factor and we analyse its distribution. Conjointly, we analyse the AIA extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light curves and images in order to identify the post-flare loops, and their temporal and thermal evolution. By combining the two analyses we are able to propose a detailed scenario that explains the dynamics of the flare. Results. Our topological analysis shows that in addition to a null-point topology with the fan separatrix, the spine lines and its surrounding quasi-separatix layer (QSL) halo (typical for a circular flare), a flux rope and its hyperbolic flux tube (HFT) are enclosed below the null. By comparing the magnetic field topology and the EUV post-flare loops we obtain an almost perfect match between the footpoints of the separatrices and the EUV 1600 Å ribbons and between the HFT field line footpoints and bright spots observed inside the circular ribbons. We show, for the first time in a confined flare, that magnetic reconnection occurred initially at the HFT below the flux rope. Reconnection at the null point between the flux rope and the overlying field is only initiated in a second phase. In addition, we showed that the EUV late phase observed after the main flare episode is caused by the cooling loops of different length which have all reconnected at the null point during the impulsive phase. Conclusions. Our analysis shows in one example that flux ropes are present in null-point topology not only for eruptive and jet events, but also for confined flares. This allows us to conjecture on the analogies between conditions that govern the generation of jets, confined flares or eruptive flares.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA76
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Magnetic reconnection
  • Sun: Flares
  • Sun: Magnetic fields
  • Sun: UV radiation


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