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On January 13th, XRT observed this beautiful M5.6 flare from Active Region 11257. The images on the left are overexposed to show the faint expanding structure, which consists of ballooning magnetic field lines illuminated by multi-million-degree plasma heated by the flare. The images on the right show the bright flare core, where a collision of magnetic field lines likely occurs, reconfiguring the region and releasing energy through a process known as "magnetic reconnection". After the flare peaks, field lines shrink back down to produce sunward flows called supra-arcade downflows. These occur largely after the movies above, missed by XRT due to a pause in observations mandated by the South Atlantic Anomaly, but they can be seen in Solar Dynamics Observatory images available here. Despite the strong flare and apparent opening of the overlying field, there was very little ejecta associated with this event. Click here to see the minor Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) that was observed by the LASCO instrument aboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).
Keywords: Flare, Loop Expansion, Downflows
Filters: Be_thin, Be_med