Modeling a Propagating Sawtooth Flare Ribbon Structure as a Tearing Mode in the Presence of Velocity Shear


Jacob Parker, Dana Longcope


Astrophysical Journal


On 2014 April 18 (SOL2014-04-18T13:03), an M-class flare was observed by IRIS. The associated flare ribbon contained a quasi-periodic sawtooth pattern that was observed to propagate along the ribbon, perpendicular to the IRIS spectral slit, with a phase velocity of similar to 15 km s(-1). This motion resulted in periodicities in both intensity and Doppler velocity along the slit. These periodicities were reported by Brannon et al. to be approximately +/- 0".5 in position and +/- 20 km s(-1) in velocity and were measured to be similar to 180 degrees out of phase with one another. This quasi-periodic behavior has been attributed by others to bursty or patchy reconnection and slipping occurring during three-dimensional magnetic reconnection. Though able to account for periodicities in both intensity and Doppler velocity, these suggestions do not explicitly account for the phase velocity of the entire sawtooth structure or the relative phasing of the oscillations. Here we propose that the observations can be explained by a tearing mode (TM) instability occurring at a current sheet across which there is also a velocity shear. Using a linear model of this instability, we reproduce the relative phase of the oscillations, as well as the phase velocity of the sawtooth structure. We suggest a geometry and local plasma parameters for the April 18 flare that would support our hypothesis. Under this proposal, the combined spectral and spatial IRIS observations of this flare may provide the most compelling evidence to date of a TM occurring in the solar magnetic field.



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