Sun's 'superflare' would be disastrous for Earth


Submitted by Subeditor on Thu, 2015-12-03 15:53 Washington D.C: The Sun could release flares 1000 times greater than previously recorded, according to a new study. The Sun demonstrates the potential to superflare, the research into stellar flaring suggests. Led by the University of Warwick, the research has found a stellar superflare on a star observed by NASA's Kepler space telescope with wave patterns similar to those that have been observed in solar flares. Superflares are thousands of times more powerful than those ever recorded on the Sun and are frequently observed on some stars. Found in the Milky Way, the binary star, KIC9655129, is known to superflare. The researchers suggest due to the similarities between the superflare on KIC9655129 and the Sun's solar flares, the underlying physics of the flares might be the same, supporting the idea that our Sun could also produce a superflare. Typical solar flares can have energies equivalent to a 100 million megaton bombs, but a superflare on the Sun could release energy equivalent to a billion megaton bombs. If the Sun were to superflare, the Earth's communications and energy systems could be at serious risk of failing. Lead researcher, Chloe Pugh from the University of Warwick's Centre for Fusion, Space and Astrophysics, explained that the solar system is filled with plasma, or ionised gas, originating from the Sun as a result of the solar wind and other more violent solar eruptions, such as solar flares. “If the Sun were to produce a superflare it would be disastrous for life on Earth; our GPS and radio communication systems could be severely disrupted and there could be large scale power blackouts as a result of strong electrical currents being induced in power grids.” Pugh added “fortunately the conditions needed for a superflare are extremely unlikely to occur on the Sun, based on previous observations of solar activity." (ANI)