The Lorentz Force at Work: Multiphase Magnetohydrodynamics throughout a Flare Lifespan

Wenzhi Ruan*, Rony Keppens, Limei Yan, Patrick Antolin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

The hour-long, gradual phase of solar flares is well observed across the electromagnetic spectrum, demonstrating many multiphase aspects, where cold condensations form within the heated post-flare system, but a complete 3D model is lacking. Using a state-of-the-art 3D magnetohydrodynamic simulation, we identify the key role played by the Lorentz force through the entire flare lifespan, and show that slow variations in the post-flare magnetic field achieve the bulk of the energy release. Synthetic images in multiple passbands closely match flare observations, and we quantify the role of conductive, radiative, and Lorentz force work contributions from flare onset to decay. This highlights how the non-force-free nature of the magnetic topology is crucial to trigger Rayleigh–Taylor dynamics, observed as waving coronal rays in extreme ultraviolet observations. Our C-class solar flare reproduces multiphase aspects such as post-flare coronal rain. In agreement with observations, we find strands of cooler plasma forming spontaneously by catastrophic cooling, leading to cool plasma draining down the post-flare loops. As there is force balance between magnetic pressure and tension and the plasma pressure in gradual-phase flare loops, this has potential for coronal seismology to decipher the magnetic field strength variation from observations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number82
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Volume967
Issue number2
Early online date21 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024

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