Background & Aims

Solar flares are the most energetic events in the solar system and an important reference for magnetic energy release and particle acceleration throughout the Universe. To power the radiative emissions of a flare, up to 1025 J of energy must be delivered to the Sun's chromosphere from the corona. Traditionally, this transport has been attributed to electron beams that are assumed to be accelerated at an energy release site in the corona; however, flare observations present several obstacles to this "standard" flare model. Consequently, an alternative explanation has recently been proposed, which considers the coronal energy release site as a source of electromagnetic energy carried by Alfvénic waves as Poynting flux. This novel idea offers several advantages over the incumbent model and has generated significant positive interest in the solar physics community.

Advancing the new flare model now requires a coordinated, international, cross-disciplinary effort, for which an ISSI International Team is the perfect vehicle. We therefore propose a team that will bring together five of the model's main developers and join them with six internationally leading specialists whose expertise covers auroral particle acceleration, MHD waves, simulations of the solar atmosphere and solar observations. The team will aim to make quick breakthroughs by applying existing tools (developed for other applications) to the flare/waves problem for the first time, with focus on three major goals:

Key questions

By taking advantage of recent advances in complementary disciplines, availability of mature computer codes never before applied to this problem, the data collected by a broad range of complementary solar missions, and the current stage of the solar cycle, we will develop a much clearer picture of the workings of solar flares and subject the new model to direct observational testing for the first time.