Study of two successive three-ribbon solar flares on 2012 July 6

Haimin Wang, Chang Liu, Na Deng, Zhicheng Zeng, Yan Xu, Ju Jing, Wenda Cao

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This Letter reports two rarely observed three-ribbon flares (M1.9 and C9.2) on 2012 July 6 in NOAA AR 11515, which we found using Hα observations of 0.″1 resolution from the New Solar Telescope and Ca II H images from Hinode. The flaring site is characterized by an intriguing "fish-bone- like" morphology evidenced by both Hα images and a nonlinear force-free field (NLFFF) extrapolation, where two semi-parallel rows of low-lying, sheared loops connect an elongated, parasitic negative field with the sandwiching positive fields. The NLFFF model also shows that the two rows of loops are asymmetric in height and have opposite twists, and are enveloped by large-scale field lines including open fields. The two flares occurred in succession within half an hour and are located at the two ends of the flaring region. The three ribbons of each flare run parallel to the magnetic polarity inversion line, with the outer two lying in the positive field and the central one in the negative field. Both flares show surge-like flows in Hα apparently toward the remote region, while the C9.2 flare is also accompanied by EUV jets possibly along the open field lines. Interestingly, the 12-25 keV hard X-ray sources of the C9.2 flare first line up with the central ribbon then shift to concentrate on the top of the higher branch of loops. These results are discussed in favor of reconnection along the coronal null line, producing the three flare ribbons and the associated ejections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL23
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: X-rays gamma rays
  • Sun: activity
  • Sun: flares
  • Sun: magnetic fields


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