Fast plasmoid-mediated reconnection in a solar flare

Xiaoli Yan*, Zhike Xue, Chaowei Jiang*, E. R. Priest, Bernhard Kliem, Liheng Yang, Jincheng Wang, Defang Kong, Yongliang Song, Xueshang Feng, Zhong Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Magnetic reconnection is a multi-faceted process of energy conversion in astrophysical, space and laboratory plasmas that operates at microscopic scales but has macroscopic drivers and consequences. Solar flares present a key laboratory for its study, leaving imprints of the microscopic physics in radiation spectra and allowing the macroscopic evolution to be imaged, yet a full observational characterization remains elusive. Here we combine high resolution imaging and spectral observations of a confined solar flare at multiple wavelengths with data-constrained magnetohydrodynamic modeling to study the dynamics of the flare plasma from the current sheet to the plasmoid scale. The analysis suggests that the flare resulted from the interaction of a twisted magnetic flux rope surrounding a filament with nearby magnetic loops whose feet are anchored in chromospheric fibrils. Bright cusp-shaped structures represent the region around a reconnecting separator or quasi-separator (hyperbolic flux tube). The fast reconnection, which is relevant for other astrophysical environments, revealed plasmoids in the current sheet and separatrices and associated unresolved turbulent motions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number640
Number of pages14
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2022


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