Plasma Heating Induced by Tadpole-like Downflows in the Flaring Solar Corona

Tanmoy Samanta, Hui Tian, Bin Chen, Katharine K. Reeves, Mark C.M. Cheung, Angelos Vourlidas, Dipankar Banerjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100083
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 28 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: magnetic reconnection
  • Sun: plasma heating
  • Sun: solar flare


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