We study the quasi-static evolution of coronal magnetic fields constructed from the Non Linear Force Free Field (NLFFF) approximation aiming to understand the relation between the magnetic field topology and ribbon emission during an X1.5 flare in active region (AR) NOAA 11166. The flare with a quasi-elliptical, and two remote ribbons occurred on March 9, 2011 at 23:13UT over a positive
flux region surrounded by negative flux at the center of the bipolar AR. Our analysis of the coronal magnetic structure with potential and NLFFF solutions unveiled the existence of a single magnetic null point associated with a
fan-spine topology and is co-spatial with the hard X-ray source. The footpoints of the fan separatrix surface agree with the inner edge of the quasi-elliptical ribbon and the outer spine is linked to one of the remote ribbons. During the evolution, the slow footpoint motions stressed the fieldlines along the polarity inversion line and caused electric current layers in the corona around the fan separatrix surface. These current layers trigger magnetic reconnection as a consequence of dissipating currents, which are visible as cusped shape structures at lower heights. The reconnection process reorganised the magnetic
field topology whose signatures are observed at the separatrices/QSL structure both in the photosphere and corona during the pre-to-post flare evolution. In agreement with previous numerical studies, our results suggest that the line-tied footpoint motions perturb the fan-spine system and cause null point reconnection, which eventually causes the flare emission at the footpoints of the fieldlines.
Authors: P. Vemareddy, and T. Wiegelmann
Publication Status: Accepted in ApJ
Last Modified: 2014-07-02 12:54