Solar physicists are convinced that magnetic fields are rearranged, and energy is released, via a set of processes referred to as magnetic reconnection. To better understand this occurrence, observational measurements, analytical derivations and computer modeling are used to understand and explain how reconnection in solar flares occurs in just minutes, and lasts only a few hours even though the electrical conductivity of the million-degree coronal plasma indicates that reconnection should occur only on time scales of many years.

MSU personnel involved

Dana Longcope, Jiong Qiu, David McKenzie, Angela Des Jardins, Sabrina Savage (former grad student), WenJuan Liu (graduate student), Nicholas Hill (REU summer intern), Maria Kazachenko (former grad student), Theresa Carranza-Fulmer (REU summer intern), Anna Malanushenko (former grad student).

Recent publications

  • "Quantitative Examination of a Large Sample of Supra-arcade Downflows in Eruptive Solar Flares", by Savage and McKenzie, 2011, ApJ, (accepted for publication).
  • "Reconnection and Energetics in Two-ribbon Flares: A Revisit of the Bastille-day Flare", by Qiu, Liu, Hill, and Kazachenko, ApJ, 725, 319.
  • "A Quantitative Model of Energy Release and Heating by Time-dependent, Localized Reconnection in a Flare with Thermal Loop-top X-ray Source", by Longcope, Des Jardins, Carranza-Fulmer, and Qiu, 2010, Solar Physics, 267, 107.
  • "Reconnection Outflows and Current Sheet Observed with Hinode/XRT in the 2008 April 9 'Cartwheel CME' Flare", by Savage, McKenzie, Reeves, Forbes, and Longcope, 2010, ApJ, 722, 329.
  • "Sunspot Rotation, Flare Energetics, and Flux Rope Helicity: The Halloween Flare on 2003 October 28", by Kazachenko, Canfield, Longcope, and Qiu, 2010, ApJ, 722, 1539.
  • "Reconstructing the Local Twist of Coronal Magnetic Fields and the Three-Dimensional Shape of the Field Lines from Corona Loops in EUV and X-Ray Images", by Malanushenko, Longcope, and McKenzie, 2009, ApJ, 707, 1044.