Superflare (Photo Credit: Twitter)
Solar flares are a common phenomenon and generally don't pose much risk to the Earth. However, a superflare can destroy the Earth. Yes, you read it right. Also, a recent study by the scientists at the University of Colorado at Boulder (UCB) has claimed that the Earth could continue to host life as long as the sun does not experience a massive burst of energy called a superflare.
The study, which is published in the journal of 'The Astrophysical', said that the astronomers studying the edges of the Milky Way have in recent years observed some of the most brilliant pyrotechnic displays (a firework display) in the galaxy called superflares.
It is to be noted that so far scientists weren't sure what is causing these gargantuan eruptions of energy--which can be seen from hundreds of light-years away- but they have assumed that it is the product of very young, very active stars rotating very quickly and with lots of fuel to burn.
Now, new research shows with more confidence than ever before that superflares can occur on older, quieter stars like our own may be more rarely, or about once every few thousand years.
"The results should be a wake-up call for life on our planet," said Yuta Notsu, the lead author of the study.
“If a superflare erupted from the sun, Earth would likely sit in the path of a wave of high-energy radiation. Such a blast could disrupt electronics across the globe, causing widespread blackouts and shorting out communication satellites in orbit,” he said.
"Our study shows that superflares are rare events. But there is some possibility that we could experience such an event in the next 100 years or so," Notsu added.
He further said, "When our sun was young, it was very active because it rotated very fast and probably generated more powerful flares. But we didn't know if such large flares occur on the modern sun with very low frequency."