Pre-flare activity and magnetic reconnection during the evolutionary stages of energy release in a solar eruptive flare

Bhuwan Joshi, Astrid M. Veronig, Jeongwoo Lee, Su Chan Bong, Sanjiv Kumar Tiwari, Kyung Suk Cho

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37 Scopus citations


In this paper, we present a multi-wavelength analysis of an eruptive white-light M3.2 flare that occurred in active region NOAA 10486 on 2003 November 1. The excellent set of high-resolution observations made by RHESSI and the TRACE provides clear evidence of significant pre-flare activities for 9 minutes in the form of an initiation phase observed at EUV/UV wavelengths followed by an X-ray precursor phase. During the initiation phase, we observed localized brightenings in the highly sheared core region close to the filament and interactions among short EUV loops overlying the filament, which led to the opening of magnetic field lines. The X-ray precursor phase is manifested in RHESSI measurements below 30keV and coincided with the beginning of flux emergence at the flaring location along with early signatures of the eruption. The RHESSI observations reveal that both plasma heating and electron acceleration occurred during the precursor phase. The main flare is consistent with the standard flare model. However, after the impulsive phase, an intense hard X-ray (HXR) looptop source was observed without significant footpoint emission. More intriguingly, for a brief period, the looptop source exhibited strong HXR emission with energies up to 50-100keV and significant non-thermal characteristics. The present study indicates a causal relation between the activities in the pre-flare and the main flare. We also conclude that pre-flare activities, occurring in the form of subtle magnetic reorganization along with localized magnetic reconnection, played a crucial role in destabilizing the active region filament, leading to a solar eruptive flare and associated large-scale phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number195
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 20 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: X-rays
  • Sun: activity
  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: flares
  • gamma rays


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