2011 February 15: Sunquakes produced by Flux Rope Eruption

Sergei Zharkov, Lucie Green, Sarah Matthews, Valentina Zharkova

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We present an analysis of the 2011 February 15 X-class solar flare, previously reported to produce the first sunquake in solar cycle 24. Using acoustic holography, we confirm the first, and report a second, weaker, seismic source associated with this flare. We find that the two sources are located at either end of a sigmoid, which indicates the presence of a flux rope. Contrary to the majority of previously reported sunquakes, the acoustic emission precedes the peak of major hard X-ray (HXR) sources by several minutes. Furthermore, the strongest HXR footpoints derived from RHESSI data are found to be located away from the seismic sources in the flare ribbons. We account for these discrepancies within the context of a phenomenological model of a flux rope eruption and accompanying two-ribbon flare. We propose that the sunquakes are triggered at the footpoints of the erupting flux rope at the start of the flare impulsive phase and eruption onset, while the main HXR sources appear later at the footpoints of the flare loops formed under the rising flux rope. Possible implications of this scenario for the theoretical interpretation of the forces driving sunquakes are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L35
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Early online date20 Oct 2011
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2011


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