Rapid changes of photospheric magnetic field after tether-cutting reconnection and magnetic implosion

Chang Liu, Na Deng, Rui Liu, Jeongwoo Lee, Thomas Wiegelmann, Ju Jing, Yan Xu, Shuo Wang, Haimin Wang

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The rapid, irreversible change of the photospheric magnetic field has been recognized as an important element of the solar flare process. This Letter reports such a rapid change of magnetic fields during the 2011 February 13 M6.6 flare in NOAA AR 11158 that we found from the vector magnetograms of the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) with 12 minute cadence. High-resolution magnetograms of Hinode that are available at -5.5, -1.5, 1.5, and 4hr relative to the flare maximum are used to reconstruct a three-dimensional coronal magnetic field under the nonlinear force-free field (NLFFF) assumption. UV and hard X-ray images are also used to illuminate the magnetic field evolution and energy release. The rapid change is mainly detected by HMI in a compact region lying in the center of the magnetic sigmoid, where the mean horizontal field strength exhibited a significant increase of 28%. The region lies between the initial strong UV and hard X-ray sources in the chromosphere, which are cospatial with the central feet of the sigmoid according to the NLFFF model. The NLFFF model further shows that strong coronal currents are concentrated immediately above the region, and that, more intriguingly, the coronal current system underwent an apparent downward collapse after the sigmoid eruption. These results are discussed in favor of both the tether-cutting reconnection producing the flare and the ensuing implosion of the coronal field resulting from the energy release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL4
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: X-rays, gamma rays
  • Sun: activity
  • Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs)
  • Sun: flares
  • Sun: magnetic topology
  • Sun: surface magnetism


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