LaRosa & Moore (1993) recently proposed that the bulk dissipation of magnetic field that is required for the electron energization in the explosive phase of solar flares occurs in a ''fat current sheet,'' a wall of cascading MHD turbulence sustained by highly disordered driven reconnection of opposing magnetic fields impacting at a turbulent boundary layer. In two-ribbon eruptive flares, this turbulent reconnection wall is supposed to develop at the usual reconnection site in the standard model for these flares; that is, the reconnection wall stands in the vertical magnetic rent made by the eruption of the sheared core of the preflare closed bipolar field. Here, we use the well-observed great two-ribbon eruptive flare of 1984 April 24/25 to assess the feasibility of both (1) the standard model for the overall three-dimensional form and action of the magnetic field and (2) the turbulent reconnection wall within it. The observed aspects of this flare that we use are (1) the preflare photospheric vector magnetic field; (2) the occurrence of a flare spray and the size, form, and spreading of the chromospheric flare ribbons; and (3) the rate of production of hard (greater than or similar to 25 keV) X-rays in the explosive phase of the flare. We find (1) that the morphology of this flare closely matched that of the standard model; (2) the preflare sheared core field had enough nonpotential magnetic energy to power the flare; (3) the model turbulent wall required to achieve the flare's peak dissipative power easily fit within the overall span of the flaring magnetic field; (4) this wall was thick enough to have turbulent eddies large enough (diameters similar to 10(8) cm) to produce the similar to 10(26) ergs energy release fragments typically observed in the explosive phase of flares; (5) the aspect ratio (thickness/vertical extent) of the turbulent reconnection wall was in the 0.1-1 range expected by (Packer 1973). We therefore conclude that the viability of our version of the standard model (i.e., having the magnetic field dissipation occur in our turbulent reconnection wall) is well confirmed by this typical great two-ribbon eruptive flare.
The Astrophysical Journal
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Moore RL, Larosa TN, Orwig LE. 1995. The wall of reconnection-driven magnetohydrodynamic turbulence in a large solar-flare. Astrophys J 438(2):985-96.