Hα, extreme-ultraviolet, and microwave observations of the 2000 March 22 solar flare and spontaneous magnetic reconnection

Jeongwoo Lee, Peter T. Gallagher, Dale Gary, Gelu Nita, G. S. Choe, Su Chan Bong, Hong Sik Yun

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15 Scopus citations


The evolution of a GOES class X1.1 solar flare, which occurred in NOAA Active Region 8910 on 2000 March 22, is discussed using observations from the Owens Valley Solar Array (OVSA), Big Bear Solar observatory (BBSO), Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE), and the Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) on board Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). During the impulsive phase, a set of coronal loops are visible in the TRACE 171 Å (∼1 × 106 K) wavelength band, which is confined to a small volume in the center of the large βγδ-type active region. This is rapidly followed by the emergence of bright Hα ribbons that coincide with the EUV emission. Radio images show a single source encompassing the Hα ribbons at 5 GHz, but at higher frequencies a double source is seen within the area bounded by the compact Hα and EUV emissions. We interpret the observation under the idea of the confined flare in contrast with the more commonly cited, eruptive flare. We use a schematic magnetic reconnection geometry based on the MDI magnetogram to suggest that the EUV loops show some parts of a separatrix, and that the radio and Hα sources coincide with the whole part of the separatrix and its footpoints, respectively. First of all, it explains why this flare lacks the separating motion of Hα ribbons, a signature for eruptive flares. Second, the very short duration of microwave bursts in spite of the large amount of soft X-ray flux is explicable under this scenario, since energy release via spontaneous reconnection in a confined magnetic structure can be very rapid. Third, the confined magnetic geometry is also considered favorable for preserving chromospheric evaporation and plasma turbulence as inferred from the OVSA microwave spectrum. In addition, a coronal mass ejection as detected in the LASCO coronagraph after this flare is briefly discussed in relation to the above flare model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)524-535
Number of pages12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • MHD
  • Radiation mechanisms: nonthermal
  • Sun: UV radiation
  • Sun: flares
  • Sun: magnetic fields
  • Sun: radio radiation


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