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Solar “superflare” could hit Earth within the next 100 years, researchers suggest



(Planet-Today) A study published in the Astrophysical Journal suggests that the sun can unleash a massive burst of energy called a “superflare” within this century. Such an event can knock down the power grid and satellites, pushing society to the brink of collapse.

(Article by Virgilio Marin republished from

“Our study shows that superflares are rare events,” said Yuta Notsu, an astronomer currently performing research at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) and the lead researcher of the study. “But there is some possibility that we could experience such an event in the next 100 years or so.”

The sun is not as tranquil as previously thought

Superflares are high-powered versions of solar flares, which are sudden bursts of solar energy that cause stars to appear brighter than usual. They can be seen from hundreds of light-years away and are thought to occur mostly on young and highly active stars.

The first evidence of superflares came from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration‘s Kepler Space Telescope, which was launched in 2009 to search for planets several light-years away. Data from Kepler showed that the light from distant stars seemed to get suddenly and momentarily brighter. This suggested the existence of solar flares that are hundreds to thousands more powerful than the brightest ones ever recorded using modern instruments on Earth.

Before the CU study, scientists were unsure whether the sun could produce superflares, though some were convinced that the sun is too old to be able to pump out that much energy.

“When our sun was young, it was very active because it rotated very fast and probably generated more powerful flares,” Notsu said. “But we didn’t know if such large flares occur on the modern sun with very low frequency.”

To that end, Notsu and his colleagues searched for superflares generated by sun-like stars using data from the European Space Agency‘s Gaia spacecraft and the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico. After analyzing those events, the researchers confirmed that younger stars tend to produce the most superflares, discharging enormous whips of energy once every week or so.

But older stars like the sun, which is currently aged around 4.6 billion years, can also generate superflares once every 1,000 years on average. (Related: Scientists warn of MASSIVE solar storms: “We need to be better prepared”.)

Earth’s magnetic field can blunt the effects of solar flares, but high-powered versions can be disastrous since coronal mass ejections – fast-moving streams of charged particles that typically accompany solar flares – can barrel toward Earth and knockout satellites, power grids and other electronics.

“If a superflare occurred 1,000 years ago, it was probably no big problem. People may have seen a large aurora,” Notsu said. “Now, it’s a much bigger problem because of our electronics.”

Past solar storms caused widespread auroras, downed communication lines

Powerful solar storms hit Earth multiple times before, bringing down communication lines and causing widespread auroras – the polar lights – that reach near the equator. A recent study in the preprint server arXiv shows that an intense solar storm in 1582 illuminated the skies over Portugal for three consecutive nights.

Researchers compiled old eyewitness accounts by observers in Lisbon. According to one of the texts, the night sky looked like it was burning in flames, which no one in the area had ever seen before. The text’s author had the same observation at the same time the next day, though it was less intense.

Sightings of auroras were not unheard of at the time because the polar lights commonly occur at the planet’s northernmost and southernmost latitudes. But witnessing auroras in near-equatorial regions such as Portugal was extremely rare.

In 1859, the worst known solar storm to hit Earth caused auroras that were seen as far as Hawaii and Cuba. Known as the “Carrington Event,” this solar storm also knocked down telegraph wires in the U.S. and Europe, triggering widespread fires. Reports showed that if a solar storm this severe occurred today, it could cause up to $2 trillion in initial damages by crippling communications and fueling chaos – a scenario that would take society up to 10 years to recover.

Learn more about the impact of a powerful solar storm at

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Earth-like world covered by raging volcanoes found in space




Scientists at the University of California have discovered a planet
that may bear a resemblance to Earth. However, unlike our planet, this
peaceful planet is covered with fierce volcanoes. News of the discovery
was published in the journal Nature.

The new planet was discovered using the Kepler telescope, which
explores outer space in search of exoplanets. According to scientists,
the planet is in the life zone of its star and may have conditions for
the development of life.

However, the presence of volcanoes on the surface of this planet may
mean that it is not suitable for life. This is due to the fact that
volcanoes can emit gases into the atmosphere, which can be poisonous to
living organisms.

On the other hand, scientists believe that the presence of volcanoes
on this planet may mean there is a magnetic field that protects it from
harmful cosmic rays. This may be one of the factors contributing to the
development of life on this planet.

Although the planet is 110 light years away from Earth, scientists
hope that it could be the subject of future research. However, this will
require new telescopes and more accurate measurement methods.

Interestingly, the search for exoplanets is one of the hottest topics
in modern astronomy. Scientists around the world are looking for
planets that may have conditions for the development of life. Some of
these planets are only a few light years away from Earth.

In addition, there is a theory that life on Earth may have originated
through volcanic activity. Volcanoes may have created the conditions
for the formation of the first organic compounds, which then led to the
emergence of life.

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Asteroid 1994 XD: Threat to Earth or opportunity for space exploration?




On June 12, 2023, the asteroid 1994 XD, which is over 500 meters in
diameter, will approach Earth. Despite the fact that it will be 3.1
million kilometers away, which is 8 times the average distance to the
Moon, many are asking – can this asteroid become a threat to our planet?

It is worth noting that asteroids, like comets, pose a threat to the
Earth, but the probability of collision with them is very low. In
addition, there are many programs and projects to track space bodies,
which allow you to identify a potential threat in time and take measures
to prevent it.

However, asteroids are also of interest to scientists and space
research. Studying the composition and structure of these bodies can
help scientists better understand the origin of the solar system and the
possibilities for life in space.

For example, asteroids may contain water and other elements necessary
for life, which could be used to build space stations and bases on
other planets. In addition, studying asteroids can help scientists
develop methods to defend against potential threats from space.

The asteroid 1994 XD was discovered in 1994 by the Kitt Peak
Observatory and has not posed a threat to Earth since then. Its close
approach to our planet will be an opportunity to study this cosmic body
in more detail and expand our knowledge of space.

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