A new study suggests that the Sun has the potential to produce superflares that could destroy the Earth. Researchers from Denmark’s Aarhus University investigated almost 100,000 stars with superflares and discovered that about 10 percent had a magnetic field similar to or weaker than that of the Sun’s. The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.
“We certainly did not expect to find superflare stars with magnetic fields as weak as the magnetic fields on the Sun. This opens the possibility that the Sun could generate a superflare,” Christoffer Karoff from Aarhus University told Live Mint.
The study found that a superflare, just like standard solar flares, occurs when large magnetic fields on the surface of a star collapse. If one occurred on the Sun, the collapse would cause the Sun to release gigantic amounts of energy and hot plasma that would strike the Earth with an intensity of up to 100 times worse than the most powerful solar flare ever recorded.
The superflare would not only severely disrupt GPS and radio communication systems and power grids. It could also wipe out Earth’s atmosphere and thus the planet’s ability to support life.
The largest solar eruption in recorded history, dubbed the Carrington Event, struck the Earth in September of 1859. The solar flare disrupted the telegraph system worldwide and damaged the planet’s ozone layer. VIA – TomoNews US