Fast magnetic reconnection powers explosive events throughout the universe, from gamma-ray bursts to solar flares. Despite its importance, the onset of astrophysical fast reconnection is the subject of intense debate and remains an open question in plasma physics. Here we report high-cadence observations of two reconnection-driven solar microflares obtained by the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph that show persistent turbulent flows preceding flaring. The speeds of these flows are comparable to the local sound speed initially, suggesting the onset of fast reconnection in a highly turbulent plasma environment. Our results are in close quantitative agreement with the theory of turbulence-driven reconnection as well as with numerical simulations in which fast magnetic reconnection is induced by turbulence.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- February 2020
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics;
- Physics - Plasma Physics;
- Physics - Space Physics
- Published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters