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The mature sun may still be inclined to temper tantrums. A new study suggests that older stars like the sun can produce superflares – huge energy blasts that can be seen over hundreds of light years.
Superflares used to be considered a younger star phenomenon, researchers said in a statement about the new study, but the new work suggests that it may happen on the sun at rare intervals, perhaps once in a few thousand years. (The sun is about 4.6 billion years old and halfway through its lifetime.)
The sun is hard to predict on a steady day, so it is difficult to say when a superflare would occur. The new work's lead author, Yuta Notsu – a visiting researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder – said this opportunity should inspire everyone to cure electronics against radiation.
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"If a superflare occurred 1000 years ago, it was probably no big problem. People may have seen a great aurora," Notsu said in a statement referring to the dancing northern lights or southern lights produced by sun particles that interact with molecules of the earth's atmosphere. "Now it's a much bigger problem because of our electronics."
We already know the sun's power can knock out power lines, electronics and satellites. Coronal mass expulsions from the sun – or large plums of charged particles – have caused problems with our infrastructure in the past, such as the extraordinary 1859 Carrington Event super storm that affected telegraph communication. However, a superflare would be worse. The super flyer would be hundreds or thousands of times more powerful than the most active tans that were recorded.
"If a superflare erupted from the sun … the Earth would probably be in the way of a wave of radiation radiation. An explosion can disrupt the electronics worldwide and cause widespread power outages and short circuit communication satellites in orbit," said University of Colorado representatives. Boulder in the statement.
The new superflar data came from NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, which was looking for planets on distant stars between 2009 and 2018. Kepler also saw a lot of star activity when looking for new worlds. It discovered some superflies, moments when the starlight suddenly became brighter before dimming again.
Curious about Kepler's findings, scientists saw the spacecraft's spacecraft studying star movements and brightnesses over a billion stars – and the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico.
The two telescopes saw 43 superflies that came from stars that resemble age and size to our own sun, said the researcher researcher. Statistics from their data show that most superflares come from younger stars, which can flare about once a week. And our own sun is still inclined, but only once for a few thousand years.
Notsu presented his research Monday, June 10 at the 234th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in St. Louis. The result was also detailed May 3 in The Astrophysical Journal.