Solar Physics

, Volume 282, Issue 2, pp 503-521

First online:

Multiwavelength Study of a Solar Eruption from AR NOAA 11112 I. Flux Emergence, Sunspot Rotation and Triggering of a Solar Flare

  • Pankaj KumarAffiliated withKorea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI) Email author 
  • , Sung-Hong ParkAffiliated withKorea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI)
  • , K.-S. ChoAffiliated withKorea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI)NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterDepartment of Physics, The Catholic University of America
  • , S.-C. BongAffiliated withKorea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI)

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We analyze the multiwavelength observations of an M2.9/1N flare that occurred in the active region (AR) NOAA 11112 in the vicinity of a huge filament system on 16 October 2010. SDO/HMI magnetograms reveal the emergence of a bipole (within the existing AR) 50 hours prior to the flare event. During the emergence, both the positive and negative sunspots in the bipole show translational as well as rotational motion. The positive-polarity sunspot shows significant motion/rotation in the south-westward/clockwise direction, and we see continuously pushing/sliding of the surrounding opposite-polarity field region. On the other hand, the negative-polarity sunspot moves/rotates in the westward/anticlockwise direction. The positive-polarity sunspot rotates ≈ 70 within 30 hours, whereas the one with negative polarity rotates ≈ 20 within 10 hours. SDO/AIA 94 Å EUV images show the emergence of a flux tube in the corona, consistent with the emergence of the bipole in HMI. The footpoints of the flux tube were anchored in the emerging bipole. The initial brightening starts at one of the footpoints (western) of the emerging loop system, where the positive-polarity sunspot pushes/slides towards a nearby negative-polarity field region. A high speed plasmoid ejection (speed ≈ 1197 km s−1) was observed during the impulsive phase of the flare, which suggests magnetic reconnection of the emerging positive-polarity sunspot with the surrounding opposite-polarity field region. The entire AR shows positive-helicity injection before the flare event. Moreover, the newly emerging bipole reveals the signature of a negative (left-handed) helicity. These observations provide unique evidence of the emergence of twisted flux tubes from below the photosphere to coronal heights, triggering a flare mainly due to the interaction between the emerging positive-polarity sunspot and a nearby negative-polarity sunspot by the shearing motion of the emerging positive sunspot towards the negative one. Our observations also strongly support the idea that the rotation can most likely be attributed to the emergence of twisted magnetic fields, as proposed by recent models.


Solar flare – coronal loops Magnetic field Flux rope Magnetic reconnection