Astronomers from Pennsylvania State University studied the outbursts of young stars – it turned out that this phenomenon occurs regularly. Moreover, they are much more powerful than solar flares.
The researchers conducted a large-scale analysis of stellar activity and concluded that young stars can emit flares once a week. Moreover, they are much more powerful than the largest solar flares.
Scientists believe that stellar flares play a critical role in shaping the early history of nearby planets. For example, flares can push out stagnant gas, which accelerates planetary formation, but the constant pulse of powerful flares can destroy the planetary atmosphere and even shorten the life of the planet itself. Therefore, in the new study, scientists analyzed 24 thousand different stars, each of which is less than 5 million years old, to understand how stars can affect young planetary systems.
“Our study reveals how the Sun could have influenced the appearance and formation of the Earth billions of years ago,” the scientists noted.
Scientists have used the Chandra space X-ray observatory to study flares. They first identified 40 regions of star formation, in which they selected more than 24 thousand stars for analysis. They then began counting the flares and comparing them to the largest solar flare in history, the Carrington event of 1859.
Astronomers have noticed more than a thousand stars emitting more powerful flares than those produced by the Sun. These objects emitted flares with energies 100,000 times that of the Carrington event at least once a week. At the same time, flares with energy 10 million times greater than that of the explosion of 1859 occur approximately twice a year.