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A Two-Step Magnetic Reconnection in a Confined X-class Flare in Solar Active Region 12673 View all abstracts by submitter

Chaowei Jiang   Submitted: 2018-11-29 18:12

Solar flares are often associated with coronal eruptions, but there are confined ones without eruption, even for some X-class flares. How such large flares occurred and why they are confined are still not well understood. Here we studied a confined X2.2 flare in NOAA 12673 on 2017 September 6. It exhibits two episodes of flare brightening with rather complex, atypical ribbons. Based on topology analysis of extrapolated coronal magnetic field, we revealed that there is a two-step magnetic reconnection process during the flare. Prior to the flare, there is a magnetic flux rope (MFR) with one leg rooted in a rotating sunspot. Neighboring to the leg is a magnetic null-point structure. The sunspot drives the MFR to expand, pushing magnetic flux to the null point, and reconnection is first triggered there. The disturbance from the null-point reconnection triggers the second reconnection, i.e., a tether-cutting reconnection below the rope. However, these two reconnections failed to produce an eruption, because the rope is firmly held by its strapping flux. Furthermore, we compared this flare with an eruptive X9.3 flare in the same region with 2 hours later, which has a similar MFR configuration. The key difference between them is that, for the confined flare, the MFR is fully below the threshold of torus instability, while for the eruptive one, the MFR reaches entirely above the threshold. This study provides a good evidence supporting that reconnection alone may not be able to trigger eruption, rather, MHD instability plays a more important role.

Authors: Peng Zou, Chaowei Jiang, Xueshang Feng, Pingbing Zuo, Yi Wang, Fengsi Wei

Publication Status: accept by ApJ
Last Modified: 2018-11-30 09:16
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