Astronomers have recorded a superflare for the first time on a young star-like sun. The discovery will help astronomers assess the impact of such flares on the Earth both at the stages of the origin of life and in our time.

Scientists at the University of Colorado at Boulder have observed a young, sun-like star and studied the flares it emits.

Similar processes are taking place on the Sun. During flares, the closest star to us releases energy that can be compared with millions of hydrogen bombs. Sometimes they are accompanied by so-called coronal mass ejections – plasma, flying at a speed of several million kilometers per hour. They can affect the performance of satellites and even power grids.

Astronomers have recently noticed that solar storms do not cause such serious consequences, but, according to a new study, that may be changing.

The authors of the work studied a star called EK Draconis – it looks like a young version of the Sun. She is about 100 million years old. In April 2020, it emitted a cloud of incandescent plasma weighing several quadrillion kilograms – 10 times more than previously recorded emissions from sun-like stars.

The star belongs to the class of yellow dwarfs and is much younger than the Sun – its age is approximately 50-125 million years. The sun was like this 4.5 billion years ago. During observations, the researchers recorded a superflare. Data on it were obtained on April 5, 2020, and half an hour later, followed by a coronal mass ejection, moving at a speed of about 1.8 million km/h. The mass of the ejection, according to the researchers, was more than 1 quadrillion kg. This is 10 times more than what was previously recorded on the Sun.

Such a large mass ejection could theoretically occur on our Sun too.

Research text

Researchers believe that the Sun has emitted similar flares in the past, but relatively less often, given the way young stars behave.