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Giant Flare Erupts from Neighboring Star

A Giant Flare that is 100 times more powerful than any flare our sun has ever released has erupted from a nearby star. This study was published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.Proxima Centauri is our sun’s nearest stellar neighbour at 4 light-years, or 25 trillion miles, away. It is a small, dim red dwarf star with just an eighth of the sun’s mass. That is orbited by at least two planets, one of which may be Earth-like.

The Giant Flare was observed by a global team of astronomers in 2019, and it lasted for about seven seconds. The team used five telescopes, both ground and space-based, to capture the moment. surface and ranks as one of the most violent seen anywhere in the Milky Way galaxy.Meredith MacGregor, study author and assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, made a statement that the star went from normal to 14,000 times brighter when seen in ultraviolet wavelengths over a few seconds.

These flares occur when a star experiences a shift in its magnetic field, which accelerates electrons to nearly the speed of light. These speedy electrons interact with charged plasma, which comprises much of the star. This interaction leads to an eruption of varying wavelengths of energy, including radio waves and gamma rays. when this much energy is released, the planets orbiting the star face its wrath.

Alycia Weinberger, study co-author and staff scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science said that the neighboring stellar  Proxima Centauri is of similar age to the Sun and it’s been blasting its planets with high energy flares for billions of years. Studying these Giant Flare with multiple observatories lets us understand what its planets have endured and how they might have changed. Red dwarf stars are common in our galaxy, and in recent years, astronomers have discovered they tend to host exoplanets.

The led author of the study also added that a lot of the exoplanets that the researchers found are around these types of stars. But the catch is that they’re way more active than our sun. They flare much more frequently and intensely.

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