Ellerman Bombs - Evidence for Magnetic Reconnection in the Lower Solar Atmosphere

C. J. Nelson, S. Shelyag, Michail Mathioudakis, J.G. Doyle, M.S. Madjarska, H. Uitenbroek, R. Erdélyi

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The presence of photospheric magnetic reconnection has long been thought to give rise to short and impulsive events, such as Ellerman bombs (EBs) and Type II spicules. In this article, we combine high-resolution, high-cadence observations from the Interferometric BIdimensional Spectrometer and Rapid Oscillations in the Solar Atmosphere instruments at the Dunn Solar Telescope, National Solar Observatory, New Mexico, with co-aligned Solar Dynamics Observatory Atmospheric Imaging Assembly and Hinode Solar Optical Telescope (SOT) data to observe small-scale events situated within an active region. These data are then compared with state-of-the-art numerical simulations of the lower atmosphere made using the MURaM code. It is found that brightenings, in both the observations and the simulations, of the wings of the Hα line profile, interpreted as EBs, are often spatially correlated with increases in the intensity of the Fe I λ6302.5 line core. Bipolar regions inferred from Hinode/SOT magnetic field data show evidence of flux cancellation associated, co-spatially, with these EBs, suggesting that magnetic reconnection could be a driver of these high-energy events. Through the analysis of similar events in the simulated lower atmosphere, we are able to infer that line profiles analogous to the observations occur co-spatially with regions of strong opposite-polarity magnetic flux. These observed events and their simulated counterparts are interpreted as evidence of photospheric magnetic reconnection at scales observable using current observational instrumentation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number125
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2013


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