Our sun is a middle-aged star, but it is still able to release powerful solar flames. A new study discovered that stars which are older than our sun are capable of producing superflares, which are intense bursts of energy able to travel across hundreds of light-years.
In the past, superflares were associated with younger stars, but the latest discoveries suggest they also tend to appear in the case of the older stars, and the time gaps between them may reach thousands of years. Our sun reached the middle of its life, and it has an age of 4.6 billion years.
It is difficult to anticipate the events which take place on the sun daily, which means that estimating the date when a superflare will occur is almost impossible. The development of new methods against radiation is essential since an even a stronger solar flare has the potential to reach our planet and wreak havoc.
The Sun Can Produce Superflares Once Every Few Thousands of Years
It is already known that solar flares can disrupt essential electrical equipment, including power lines, electronic devices, and satellites. Coronal mass ejections, which are strong plumes of charged particles, have hurt our infrastructure in the past.
The data used in the study was collected with the help of the Kepler space telescope which surveyed distant planets over eleven years. During this period Kepler observed a large amount of star activity, including several superflares.
The team of researchers employed data collected by the Gaia Spacecraft and the Apache Point Observatory in Mexico to verify their discoveries. The researchers spotted a total number of 43 superflares generated by stars with age on par with that of our sun. However, official statistics confirm that most of the flares are emitted stars, with the average trend of one flare about per week. The study infers that our sun can also release superflares once every few thousands of years, and the paper was published in a scientific journal.
Sam is a freelance writer who has experience writing in the digital world for 4 years after he quit his job. Sam’s interests in current world affairs gave him the drive to pursue a career in journalism. Sam originates from Russia, lived in Canada for a short time between 2011 and 2013, then moved to New York to pursue his career.