The largest X9.3 solar flare in solar cycle 24 and the preceding X2.2 flare occurred on 2017 September 6, in the solar active region NOAA 12673. This study aims to understand the onset mechanism of these flares via analysis of multiple observational data sets from the Hinode and Solar Dynamics Observatory and results from a nonlinear force-free field extrapolation. The most noticeable feature is the intrusion of a major negative-polarity region, appearing similar to a peninsula, oriented northwest into a neighboring opposite-polarity region. We also observe proxies of magnetic reconnection related to the intrusion of the negative peninsula: rapid changes of the magnetic field around the intruding negative peninsula; precursor brightening at the tip of the negative peninsula, including a cusp-shaped brightening that shows a transient but significant downflow (∼100 km s-1) at a leg of the cusp; a dark tube-like structure that appears to be a magnetic flux rope that erupted with the X9.3 flare; and coronal brightening along the dark tube-like structure that appears to represent the electric current generated under the flux rope. Based on these observational features, we propose that (1) the intrusion of the negative peninsula was critical in promoting the push-mode magnetic reconnection that forms and grows a twisted magnetic flux rope that erupted with the X2.2 flare, and (2) the continuing intrusion progressing even beyond the X2.2 flare is further promoted to disrupt the equilibrium that leads the reinforcement of the magnetic flux rope that erupted with the X9.3 flare.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science