Scientists have discovered a star system in the constellation Orion, and they have witnessed one of the most gigantic and powerful systems. star flares I watched it so far.
The massive blast of stellar radiation, called a “superflare,” is 10 times more massive than any starburst the Sun has ever experienced, according to new research published in the journal Astrophysical Journal (Opens in a new tab).
While the mechanism behind these monstrous flares is still not well understood, the new research indicates that superplanets arise from highly magnetically active stars. The study authors write that these superplanets may be accompanied by massive explosions of charged particles that could destroy life on any planets in their firing line. (Fortunately for us, Earth is not one of those planets.)
In their new research, astronomers targeted a star system called V1355 Orionis, which is about 400 light-years from Earth and features two stars orbiting each other. These stars belong to a class of stars known to harbor many sunspots – planet-sized dark regions which are formed as a result of intense electromagnetic activity – and which have been linked to other observed supertrees.
In general, stellar flares occur when magnetic field lines in a star’s atmosphere intertwine, capture and reconnect, creating powerful gauze of radiation that can be seen across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. In the sun, they may be accompanied by flares Tall plasma ringsProminences, known as prominences, can rise tens of thousands of miles above the surface of the sun. If this solar plasma is released fast enough, it can break free from the sun and become a solar system Coronal mass ejection (CME) – a massive mass of high-energy particles that could knock satellites out of orbit and short-circuit power grids on Earth, if our planet happens to fall into the point’s path.
By combining observations from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and the Seimei telescope in Japan, the researchers studied the distant star system in multiple wavelengths of light to capture the most complete picture possible of the superflare’s evolution.
They found that the flare started with one of the most powerful stellar explosions ever – a high-velocity prominence blasting off a star at more than 2.2 million miles per hour (3.5 million km/h). This explosion, the authors write, far exceeded the star’s escape velocity, shooting trillions of tons of electrically charged matter outward in what may be one of the largest masses ever observed.
It’s not certain exactly how these powerful mega-planets would affect any unlucky planets that crossed their path – but the researchers said the effects would be far more catastrophic than those even associated. The worst CMEs to ever hit Earth.
Ultimately, the discovery of this massive flare isn’t so much a cautionary tale for our own planet as it is a warning in the search for life on other worlds: Planets around magnetically superstellar systems like V1355 Orionis may not be the best places to look.
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