Astronomers have learned over the past decade that even large solar flares — powerful bursts of radiation — from our Sun are actually small potatoes compared to some of the flares we see around other stars.
It’s now common to spot “superflares” hundreds to thousands of times more powerful than the Sun’s flares from stars hundreds of light-years away.
Sizing up superflares To carry out the study, Notsu and his team first teased through data from the Kepler Space Telescope, which spent the past decade looking for planets by monitoring how stars change in brightness over time.
They found that, as expected, stars that rotate once every few days had superflares about 20 times as powerful as more slowly spinning stars like the Sun, which rotates about once every 25 days.
If a moderate flare like the Carrington Event notably disrupted electronic systems in the mid-1800s, what would a superflare some 100 times stronger do today?