Scientists have witnessed a massive superflare on a star with significant similarities with our sun. This activity of the star called KIC9655129 has made scientists predict something similar for our sun. They are saying that even the sun may possess the ability to spew a colossal superflare with potentially destructive effects on life on Earth.

KIC9655129’s superflare has the majority of its properties in common with the smaller solar flares taking place on the sun. This shows that the physics leading to these flares might actually be the same.

Solar flares usually release energy equivalent to the energy released by bombs weighing 100 megaton. A superflare has the potential of topping that by a big margin; these massive solar flares are capable of releasing energy equivalent to the energy released by bombs weighing 100 billion megaton.

Chloë Pugh, the lead researcher of the study, said that if someday the sun spews a superflare, it would be having disastrous effects on life on Earth. Pugh said that a superflare might severely disrupt the radio and GPS communication systems on our planet and may also result in large-scale power blackouts. This is because there are possibilities that such a massive solar flare will result in the induction of high-intensity electrical currents into power grids.

Pugh, however, added that fortunately for us, after examining solar activities it can be said that it’s unlikely that the sun will ever have the environment required for a superflare to occur on it.

Still, studying flares taking place on other stars is important as it might help scientists in comprehending what may be possible in our solar system.

Pugh explained that our home solar system contains a huge quantity of ionized gas or plasma, which has originated from the sun because of solar wind and a range of other aggressive solar eruptions including solar flares. She informed that many stars with significant similarities with the sun have been found to spew colossal flares known as superflares.

According to her, to know whether the sun also has the potential of producing such superflares, scientists will have to find out whether physical processes leading to solar flares and stellar superflares are similar.

SOURCEThe Astrophysical Journal