The Puzzle of Energy Release in Solar Eruptive Events


  • Solar eruptive events are large explosions on the Sun that produce both a solar flare, characterized observationally by rapid, intense brightenings, and the ejection of substantial material from the Sun in a coronal mass ejection (CME). Solar physicists, many of them at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, have made considerable progress in the last decade in understanding the origin and evolution of these events. Much of this progress derives from the analysis and interpretation of combined data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI). In this presentation I will describe how to make sense of pictures and videos of several solar eruptive events in light of this progress. I will also describe our current understanding of energy release in these events and the puzzles that remain.