Solar X-ray jets are thought to be made by a burst of reconnection of closed magnetic field at the base of a jet with ambient open field1,2. In the accepted version of the ‘emerging-flux’ model, such a reconnection occurs at a plasma current sheet between the open field and the emerging closed field, and also forms a localized X-ray brightening that is usually observed at the edge of the jet’s base1,3. Here we report high-resolution X-ray and extreme-ultraviolet observations of 20 randomly selected X-ray jets that form in coronal holes at the Sun’s poles. In each jet, contrary to the emerging-flux model, a miniature version of the filament eruptions that initiate coronal mass ejections4,5,6,7 drives the jet-producing reconnection. The X-ray bright point occurs by reconnection of the ‘legs’ of the minifilament-carrying erupting closed field, analogous to the formation of solar flares in larger-scale eruptions. Previous observations have found that some jets are driven by base-field eruptions8,9,10,11, but only one such study, of only one jet, provisionally questioned the emerging-flux model12. Our observations support the view that solar filament eruptions are formed by a fundamental explosive magnetic process that occurs on a vast range of scales, from the biggest mass ejections and flare eruptions down to X-ray jets, and perhaps even down to smaller jets that may power coronal heating10,13,14. A similar scenario has previously been suggested, but was inferred from different observations and based on a different origin of the erupting minifilament15.
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A.C.S. and R.L.M. were supported by funding from the Heliophysics Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate through the Living With A Star Targeted Research and Technology Program (LWS TR&T), and the Hinode Project. Both benefited from TR&T discussions and from discussions with S. K. Antiochos. We thank D. M. Zarro for assistance with video development. A.C.S. benefited from discussions held at the International Space Science Institute (ISSI; Switzerland) International Team on Solar Coronal Jets (led by N. Raouafi). Hinode is a Japanese mission developed and launched by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), with the National Astronomical Observatory Japan (NAOJ) as a domestic partner, and NASA and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (UK) as international partners. It is operated by these agencies in cooperation with the European Space Agency and Norwegian Space Agency.
Extended data figures
Extended data tables
Jet in soft X-rays from Hinode/XRT (left) and EUV from SDO/AIA 193 Å (right). The videos are synced to approximately concurrent times. See discussion in the text, and Figure 1 and corresponding legend, for details of the jet. This is event 18 of Extended Data Table 1.
XRT (left) and AIA 193 Å (right) video of the jet. The videos are synced to approximately concurrent times. See Extended Data Figure 2 and corresponding legend for details of the jet. This is event 12 of Extended Data Table 1.
XRT (left) and AIA 211 Å (right) videos of the jet. The videos are synced to approximately concurrent times. AIA images are zoomed-in more than are the XRT images. See Extended Data Figure 3 and corresponding legend for details of the jet. This is event 13 of Extended Data Table 1.
XRT (left) and AIA 304 Å (right) video of a “standard” jet. See Extended Data Figure 4 and corresponding legend for details of the jet. This is event 7 of Extended Data Table 1.
XRT (left) and AIA 211 Å (right) video of a “standard” jet. Dark spot north-west of center in XRT images is an artifact. AIA images are zoomed-in more than are the XRT images. See Extended Data Figure 5 and corresponding legend for details of the jet. This is event 6 of Extended Data Table 1.
About this article
Solar Physics (2018)