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The Astrophysical Journal


We report on the identification of dynamic flaring non-potential structures on quiet Sun (QS) supergranular network scales. Data from the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory allow for the high spatial and temporal resolution of this diverse class of compact structures. The rapidly evolving nonpotential events presented here, with lifetimes <10 minutes, are on the order of 10″ in length. Thus, they contrast significantly with well-known active region (AR) non-potential structures such as high-temperature X-ray and EUV sigmoids (>100″) and micro-sigmoids (>10″) with lifetimes on the order of hours to days. The photospheric magnetic field environment derived from the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager shows a lack of evidence for these flaring non-potential fields being associated with significant concentrations of bipolar magnetic elements. Of much interest to our events is the possibility of establishing them as precursor signatures of eruptive dynamics, similar to notions for AR sigmoids and micro-sigmoids, but associated with uneventful magnetic network regions. We suggest that the mixed network flux of QS-like magnetic environments, though unresolved, can provide sufficient free magnetic energy for flaring non-potential plasma structuring. The appearance of non-potential magnetic fields could be a fundamental process leading to self-organized criticality in the QS-like supergranular network and contribute to coronal heating, as these events undergo rapid helicial and vortical relaxations.



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