Sun-like stars capable of monstrous superflares

May 17, 2012
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Our sun is in its period of highest activity, and we've already seen some large solar storms and solar flares that have caused interference to radio stations and GPS signals for some parts of the world. As significant as the solar storms we've witnessed on our sun have been so far, solar flares can be much more massive than what we have witnessed.

Astronomers say that stars such as our sun could release what they call superflares. The so-called superflares can be up to 10,000 times more powerful than any we've seen from our sun. The scientists do point out that it looks unlikely that our sun will create any of these superflares currently. However, the indication is with the damage solar flares we have witnessed are capable of causing to satellites and Earth-based systems. A massive solar flare could have catastrophic consequences.

So far, few superflares have been from stars like our sun. Using the NASA Kepler satellite researchers have analyzed many stars at once and while monitoring about 83,000 stars there some like over 120 days, 365 massive super flares were noted each lasting from one hour to 12 hours. The research suggests that stars like our Sun that rotate slowly are less likely to produce superflares. That is a good thing for us.

[via MSNBC]


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