Magnetic reconnection plays a crucial role in powering solar flares, production of energetic particles, and plasma heating. However, where the magnetic reconnections occur, how and where the released magnetic energy is transported, and how it is converted to other forms remain unclear. Here we report recurring bidirectional plasma outflows located within a large-scale plasma sheet observed in extreme-ultraviolet emission and scattered white light during the post-impulsive gradual phase of the X8.2 solar flare on 2017 September 10. Each of the bidirectional outflows originates in the plasma sheet from a discrete site, identified as a magnetic reconnection site. These reconnection sites reside at very low altitudes (<180 Mm, or 0.26 R o˙) above the top of the flare arcade, a distance only <3% of the total length of a plasma sheet that extends to at least 10 R o˙. Each arrival of sunward outflows at the loop-top region appears to coincide with an impulsive microwave and X-ray burst dominated by a hot source (10-20 MK) at the loop top and a nonthermal microwave burst located in the loop-leg region. We propose that the reconnection outflows transport the magnetic energy released at localized magnetic reconnection sites outward in the form of kinetic energy flux and/or electromagnetic Poynting flux. The sunward-directed energy flux induces particle acceleration and plasma heating in the post-flare arcades, observed as the hot and nonthermal flare emissions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science