Temporal evolution of free magnetic energy associated with four X-class flares

Ju Jing, P. F. Chen, Thomas Wiegelmann, Yan Xu, Sung Hong Park, Haimin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


We study the temporal variation of free magnetic energy Efree around the time of four X-class flares. The highcadence photospheric vector magnetograms obtained by the digital vector magnegograph system at the Big Bear Solar Observatory are used as the boundary conditions to reconstruct the three-dimensional nonlinear forcefree (NLFF) coronal field. In order to remove the effect of the net Lorentz force and torque acting in the photosphere, the vector magnetograms are preprocessed using the method devised by Wiegelmann et a!.. Then a well-tested multigrid-like optimization code by Wiegelmann is applied to the preprocessed boundary data to extrapolate the NLFF coronal field with which we are able to estimate the free energy Efree. In all the four events, we find a significant drop of Efree starting ∼15 minutes before the peak time of the associated nonthermal flare emission, although long-term, trend varies from, event to event. We discuss the physical implication of the result, i.e., the magnetic relaxation is already going on in the corona well before the flare reconnection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-90
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: activity
  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: flares
  • Sun: magnetic fields


Dive into the research topics of 'Temporal evolution of free magnetic energy associated with four X-class flares'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this