Microwave Spectral Imaging of an Erupting Magnetic Flux Rope: Implications for the Standard Solar Flare Model in Three Dimensions

Bin Chen, Sijie Yu, Katharine K. Reeves, Dale E. Gary

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40 Scopus citations


We report microwave spectral imaging observations of an erupting magnetic flux rope during the early impulsive phase of the X8.2-class limb flare on 2017 September 10, obtained by the Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array. A few days prior to the eruption, when viewed against the disk, the flux rope appeared as a reverse S-shaped dark filament along the magnetic polarity inversion line. During the eruption, the rope exhibited a "hot channel" structure in extreme ultraviolet and soft X-ray passbands sensitive to ∼10 MK plasma. The central portion of the flux rope was nearly aligned with the line of sight, which quickly developed into a teardrop-shaped dark cavity during the early phase of the eruption. A long and thin plasma sheet formed below the cavity, interpreted as the reconnection current sheet viewed edge on. A nonthermal microwave source was present at the location of the central current sheet, which extended upward encompassing the dark cavity. A pair of nonthermal microwave sources were observed for several minutes on both sides of the main flaring region. They shared a similar temporal behavior and spectral property to the central microwave source below the cavity, interpreted as the conjugate footpoints of the erupting flux rope. These observations are broadly consistent with the magnetic topology and the associated energy release scenario suggested in the three-dimensional standard model for eruptive solar flares. In particular, our detection of nonthermal emission at conjugate flux rope footpoints provides solid evidence of particle transport along an erupting magnetic flux rope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL50
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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