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Trinity College Dublin

The Evolution of Sunspot Magnetic Fields Associated with a Solar Flare

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Lead PI: 
Dr. Peter Gallagher
Solar flares occur due to the sudden release of energy stored in active-region magnetic fields. To date, the pre-cursors to flaring are still not fully understood, although there is evidence that flaring is related to changes in the topology or complexity of a solar active regions magnetic field. The evolution of the magnetic field in a specific active region on the sun is being examined using data from a Japanese satellite called Hinode, over a period of 12 hours leading up to and after a small solar flare. A number of 2D magnetic-field properties have been analysed, finding significant changes in the field a few hours before the flare occurs, as well as straight after the flare. The changes observed before the flare on such short timescales may provide a physical basis for future flare forecasting efforts. However, 3D topology must be studied in order to fully understand the evolution of the field lines.
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