Rapid changes of magnetic fields associated with six X-class flares

Haimin Wang, Thomas J. Spirock, Jiong Qiu, Haisheng Ji, Vasyl Yurchyshyn, Yong Jae Moon, Carsten Denker, Philip R. Goode

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In this paper, we present the results of the study of six X-class flares. We found significant changes in the photospheric magnetic fields associated with all of the events. For the five events in 2001, when coronagraph data were available, all were associated with halo coronal mass ejections. Based on the analyses of the line-of-sight magnetograms, all six events had an increase in the magnetic flux of the leading polarity of order of a few times 10 20 MX while each event had some degree of decrease in the magnetic flux of the following polarity. The flux changes are considered impulsive because the " changeover " time, which we defined as the time to change from preflare to postflare state, ranged from 10 to 100 minutes. The observed changes are permanent. Therefore, the changes are not due to changes in the line profile caused by flare emissions. For the three most recent events, when vector magnetograms were available, two showed an impulsive increase of the transverse field strength and magnetic shear after the flares, as well as new sunspot area in the form of penumbral structure. One of the events in this study was from the previous solar cycle. This event showed a similar increase in all components of the magnetic field, magnetic shear, and sunspot area. We present three possible explanations to explain the observed changes: (1) the emergence of very inclined flux loops, (2) a change in the magnetic field direction, and (3) the expansion of the sunspot, which moved some flux out of Zeeman saturation. However, we have no explanation for the polarity preference; i.e., the flux of leading polarity tends to increase while the flux of following polarity tends to decrease slightly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-504
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: activity
  • Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs)
  • Sun: flares
  • Sun: magnetic fields


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