Hard X-ray images of possible reconnection in the flare of 21 May, 1980
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An analysis of the growth of X-ray loops in the flare of 21 May, 1980, observed by HXIS on board SMM spacecraft, has been carried out with high time resolution in six energy channels from 3.5 to 30 keV. This analysis has revealed that the tops of the loops stay for minutes at a given altitude before, quite abruptly, other loop tops begin to appear above them. One of the jumps in altitude, from ∼27 000 to ∼45 000 km if the loops extended radially, which occurred quite late in the flare development, is studied in detail. The fact that the tops, of higher loops were first seen in the 22–30 keV energy channel, and only minutes later at lower energies, suggests a new release of energy in a very small volume high in the corona. An initial temperature of at least 50 × 106 K is indicated by the data, inside a volume which may not exceed a few hundred km in diameter. A magnetic reconnection of previously distended field lines appears to be a likely candidate for the observed phenomenon.
We also give some revised values of the characteristic parameters of the whole system of loops in this flare which has been the topic of several other studies.
KeywordsLower Energy Flare Small Volume Initial Temperature Time Resolution
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