Hundreds of Superflares Seen on Sunlike Stars
Trigger for planet-roasting outbursts still a mystery, new data suggest.
On our sun, solar flares aimed at Earth can send huge amounts of energy colliding with our planet. If a flare is strong enough, it can cause a solar storm that might cripple satellites and even knock out the power grid.
Astronomers have also recorded similar but much more powerful flares coming from a variety of stars. These superflares can be millions or even a billion times more powerful than an average sun eruption, packing enough energy to roast nearby planets whole.
It's not likely, but if a superflare were to engulf Earth, for example, our protective ozone layer would be instantly obliterated, said Brad Schaefer, an astrophysicist at Louisiana State University (LSU) who wasn't involved in