Physics of Solar Flares

  • Published : 2010.04.15


This talk outlines the current understanding of solar flares, mainly focusing on magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) processes. A flare causes plasma heating, mass ejection, and particle acceleration that generates high-energy particles. The key physical processes related to a flare are: the emergence of magnetic field from the solar interior to the solar atmosphere (flux emergence), formation of current-concentrated areas (current sheets) in the corona, and magnetic reconnection proceeding in current sheets that causes shock heating, mass ejection, and particle acceleration. A flare starts with the dissipation of electric currents in the corona, followed by various dynamic processes which affect lower atmospheres such as the chromosphere and photosphere. In order to understand the physical mechanism for producing a flare, theoretical modeling has been developed, in which numerical simulation is a strong tool reproducing the time-dependent, nonlinear evolution of plasma before and after the onset of a flare. In this talk we review various models of a flare proposed so far, explaining key features of these models. We show observed properties of flares, and then discuss the processes of energy build-up, release, and transport, all of which are responsible for producing a flare. We come to a concluding view that flares are the manifestation of recovering and ejecting processes of a global magnetic flux tube in the solar atmosphere, which was disrupted via interaction with convective plasma while it was rising through the convection zone.