Archive for June 17th, 2019

Sun, Violent Stars, And Their Superflares

June 17, 2019

In the Chinese blockbuster movie “Wandering Earth“, the Sun goes red giant, and then Jupiter has a gravity spike (as the Earth swings by). Could it happen? According to today’s official physics, no. According to my own Sub Quantic Physics Reality (SQPR), yes. [1] Established scientists may smirk. However, smirking by established scientists or thinkers about imaginable science or thinking, all too often just exhibit their limited understanding of their own lack of understanding, and, or, imagination

A problem for our future conquest of the galaxy is that most stars are unstable Red Dwarves. I have argued it means we should be able to find lots of planets with very primitive life, as the most sophisticated type of life would be periodically eradicated. The past is hard to predict… except now we can look at it, with powerful telescopes… and read it.

Stars explode. Stars do also plenty of smaller, more sustainable flares and conflagrations…. The mass extinction level kill radius of a supernova (above) is at least ten light years. But to kill life in a solar system, a star can do, with much smaller explosions: the Earth is only 8 light minutes from the Sun…

When US astronauts went to the Moon, they found traces of a scorching superflare… so dreadful an idea, nobody evokes it anymore…

Studies by the US Kepler space telescope of  solar-type (G-type main-sequence), combined with Apache Point Observatory (APO) 3.5 m telescope spectroscopic observations and the European space telescope show that stars as old and sedate as the sun undergo “superflares”. Working from a sample of about 90,000 Sun-like stars, the researchers identified more than 1,000 superflares from about 300 stars.

The researchers thought these stars would be  rotating rapidly. Quickly spinning stars tend to have strong magnetic fields that easily get tangled up, bunching up, which is thought to kick off flares. However, a fast spin is apparently not a requirement for strong eruptions. Combining their brightness data with radius estimates from the Gaia satellite, the researchers were able to determine how fast their flaring stars were spinning. 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. However, Sun-like stars were still seen producing hazardous superflares.

A superflare could destroy lots of electronic on Earth (and adversely affect space explorers). Thus, the Sun has to be studied much more.

In September 1859, a solar flare sent a wave of charged particles washing over our planet. It triggered one of the most powerful geomagnetic storms ever recorded: the Carrington Event. As the particles slammed into Earth’s protective magnetic field, they triggered beautiful aurorae that stretched as far south as Hawaii and Cuba. But the Carrington Event didn’t just produce pretty lights in the sky. It also wreaked havoc on telegraph networks spread across North America and Europe. In fact, there are reports of the cosmically overcharged telegraph lines starting fires and shocking telegraph operators during the event.

Explosive activity on sun-like stars is tied to their age, and their rotation. The older, and the slower the rotation, the less explosive. Superflares with energies 5 × 10^34 erg occur on old, slowly rotating Sun-like stars (P rot ~ 25 days) approximately once every 2000–3000 yr, while young, rapidly rotating stars with P rot ~ a few days have superflares up to 10^36 erg.

That would mean energies 500 times that of the Carrington event… which was only 10^32 ergs… and would still be devastating today…[2]

In any case, constant disasters out there in space is my solution to the “Fermi Paradox” (evoking the aliens, “Where is everybody?”, joked Enrico, once at breakfast in the 1950s…)

And the more we look, the more we see how true that seems…

Philosophically speaking, that implies life on Earth we are busy destroying is much more of a miracle than is generally felt: watch all the plastic, all over, all the fossil fuels burned, etc…

Patrice Ayme



[1] In SQPR, Dark Matter can be lumpy (also an experimental fact). Also, it influences inertia and other forces, including gravity (hence Dark Energy). So crossing a Dark Matter lump may affect all forces. A gravity spike inside the Sun would cause high mass nuclides to fuse, as happen in Red Giant, or Supernovas…


[2] Most powerful supernova found: 10^ 45 ergs per second, or 10^ 38 watts, or 30 times the energy of the entire giant Milky Way (which is larger than Andromeda). So the most powerful flares are a billion times less powerful… But they tend to be directed in a particular direction… Mars lost its atmosphere from solar flares…