Sunspot Rotation and the M-Class Flare in Solar Active Region NOAA 11158

Abstract

We measure the rotation of a sunspot in solar active region NOAA 11158 (Solar Target Identifier SOL2011-02-15) that was associated with an M-class flare. The flare occurred when the rotation rate of the sunspot reached its maximum. We also calculate the energy in the corona produced by the sunspot rotation. The energy accumulated in the corona before the flare reached \(5.5\times10 ^{32}~\mbox{erg}\), which is sufficient to meet the energy requirements for a moderately strong solar eruption. This suggests that sunspot rotation, which is often observed in solar active regions, is an effective mechanism for building up magnetic energy in the corona.

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Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the team members who have made great contributions to this SDO mission for their hard work. We are grateful to the anonymous referee for his/her comments and suggestions that improved the manuscript greatly. We thank M. Cheung at Lockheed Martin for helping us to derive the formula for the energy flux calculation and G. Fisher and B. Welsch at UC Berkeley for providing the cross-correlation code. A. Li thanks the solar group at Stanford for offering this summer internship, through which he has begun to gain experience with research. The data have been used courtesy of NASA/SDO and the HMI science team.

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Correspondence to Yang Liu.

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Li, A., Liu, Y. Sunspot Rotation and the M-Class Flare in Solar Active Region NOAA 11158. Sol Phys 290, 2199–2209 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11207-015-0745-5

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Keywords

  • Solar active regions
  • Solar flares
  • Sunspot rotation