As one of the most spectacular energy release events in the solar system, solar flares are generally powered by magnetic reconnection in the solar corona. As a result of the re-arrangement of magnetic field topology after the reconnection process, a series of new loop-like magnetic structures are often formed and are known as flare loops. A hot diffuse region, consisting of around 5–10 MK plasma, is also observed above the loops and is called a supra-arcade fan. Often, dark, tadpole-like structures are seen to descend through the bright supra-arcade fans. It remains unclear what role these so-called supra-arcade downflows (SADs) play in heating the flaring coronal plasma. Here we show a unique flare observation, where many SADs collide with the flare loops and strongly heat the loops to a temperature of 10–20 MK. Several of these interactions generate clear signatures of quasi-periodic enhancement in the full-Sun-integrated soft X-ray emission, providing an alternative interpretation for quasi-periodic pulsations that are commonly observed during solar and stellar flares.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sun: corona
- Sun: magnetic reconnection
- Sun: plasma heating
- Sun: solar flare