Astronomers warn of solar ‘superflare’ that could hit Earth

Federico Mansilla
Junio 12, 2019

"When our Sun was young, it was very active because it rotated very fast and probably generated more powerful flares", said Notsu.

Superflares are explosive galactic events in which stars emit extremely powerful and sudden bursts of energy, thousands of times stronger than normal solar flares.

Be that as it may, Notsu says the more we learn about superflares, the more we realise that while they might be more common on younger stars, Sun-like stars are definitely not precluded from this powerful, and potentially very risky form of stellar phenomena.

If the sun produced a superflare today, the star would emit vast amounts of high energy radiation which could wreak havoc with electronics across our planet.

"The number of old, slowly rotating Sun-like superflare stars [observed] are now very small, and the current statistical discussions are not enough".

"Young stars have superflares once every week or so", said the study's lead author, Yuta Notsu of the University of Colorado Boulder, in a press release. But a new research paper warns that a massive "superflare" could be inevitable, and if it hits Earth we might be in serious trouble.

The team studied superflares from hundreds of stars observed by NASA's now retired Kepler Space Telescope, the European Space Agency's Gaia spacecraft, and the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico.

'For the Sun, it's once every few thousand years on average'. These events are far more powerful than the flares that are often produced by our sun. "The fact that we've observed this incredibly low mass star, where the chromosphere should be nearly at its weakest, but we have a white-light flare occurring shows that strong magnetic activity can still persist down to this level". "But there is some possibility that we could experience such an event in the next 100 years or so".

According to the latest reports coming from, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) in the U.S. are now fearing that older and quieter stars like our Sun can produce these blasts.

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The findings are reported in The Astrophysical Journal.

It is hard to anticipate the events which take place on the sun daily, which means that estimating the date when a superflare will occur is nearly impossible.

There is, however, no real guarantee when the next superflare will cripple the Earth.

The age of a star is crucial in determining the frequency of a star's superflares. As the particles slammed into Earth's protective magnetic field, they triggered lovely aurorae that stretched as far south as Hawaii and Cuba. In fact, there are reports of the cosmically overcharged telegraph lines starting fires and shocking telegraph operators during the event.

"Now, its a much bigger problem because of our electronics". "People may have seen a large aurora", Notsu said.

How big that problem will be is yet to be determined.

Astronomers recently observed a dazzling white-light superflare emerging from an L dwarf star located roughly 250 light-years from Earth called ULAS J224940.13-011236.9.

"This topic should [start to be considered] seriously from now on", Notsu stressed.

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