I am puzzled by this statement: "This region of convoluted magnetic fields may well produce a solar flare that releases a cloud of energetic particles into the Solar System." My understanding of flares is that they are regions of very high energy (M, X class etc), but that CME's are the eruptions of plasma (energetic particles). Both of course are results of magnetic field contortions. I have read that a flare can be associated with a CME, or not, and vice versa. But that a flare itself, doesn't release a cloud of energetic particles (plasma). Could you clarify please? Thank you!
The APOD statement seems perfectly acceptable as it stands and it is totally consistent with Wikipedia.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_flare wrote:
<<A solar flare is a sudden brightening observed over the Sun's surface or the solar limb. They are mainly followed by a colossal coronal mass ejection also known as a CME. The flare ejects clouds of electrons, ions, and atoms through the corona of the sun into space. These clouds typically reach Earth a day or two after the event.>>
This simulation shows the evolution of a magnetic field on the sun in response to a twisting motion applied at its base, located in the sun's visible surface or photosphere. The white field lines are initially all open, with only one end anchored in the sun and the other dangling off into space. The blue field lines all initially form closed loops. Twisting the closed field lines builds up the magnetic pressure, causing the whole structure to rise. At some point, the closed field becomes unstable and starts to buckle. This deformation leads to a reconnection event in which adjacent open and closed field lines join, unleashing magnetic energy that pushes the gas upwards, creating the high-speed jet observed by the STEREO craft. Credit: E. Pariat, S.K. Antiochus, C.R. DeVore