Science

Published on December 1st, 2012 | by James Ayre

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Super Solar Flares 20 Times More Powerful Than Any Known In Modern Times Are Possible on The Sun, Research Finds

December 1st, 2012 by

Solar flares 10-20 times stronger than any seen from the Sun in modern times are likely possible, new research has found. Other recent research done with NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has found numerous examples of stars very similar to the Sun that are capable of producing solar flares up to 10,000 times stronger than any yet observed from the Sun.

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ScienceHeathen has more:

Back in 774-775 AD something caused a significant spike in the atmospheric carbon-14 levels observed in tree rings from that time period. Carbon-14 (14C) is a form of carbon that is created from high-energy radiation hitting the Earth’s upper atmosphere, where it converts nitrogen-14 into 14C. This is then taken up by plants through photosynthesis.

The 14C spike was discovered earlier this year in research being done on tree rings in Japanese cedars dating from 774–75. The researchers were unable to come up with an explanation for the 14C spike, all of the possible explanations seemed very unlikely.

But Adrian Melott, a physicist at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, and lead author of the new study, says “that the Japanese team made a miscalculation in ruling out one of these possibilities — a giant solar storm.”

According to Melott, the problem is that the previous researchers “treated solar storms as if they shone like light bulbs, radiating energy uniformly in all directions. But actually, they produce ‘blobs’ of energetic plasma that explode outwards unevenly. Adjusting for that, he says, reduces the size of the solar storm needed to produce the observed 14C spike from 1,000 times larger than anything known, to only 10–20 times larger — meaning that a giant solar storm is suddenly back on the table as a reasonable explanation.”

You can read more about that here.


If a solar flare as powerful as the 774–75 event occurred today it could cause great, and possibly irreversible, damage to modern civilization. It would be at least 60 times more powerful than the solar storm of “1989 that took almost all of Quebec off the grid for over nine hours and caused $3-6 billion dollars in damages. Multiply that by 60 and add two decades of increased technological vulnerability, and the effects might be disastrous. A lot of people could die,” Melott says. “You could have power out for months or longer — no refrigerated food, no food being transported to all the people who live in big cities.”

Image Credits: NASA/SDO

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • http://www.facebook.com/oneninesixsixajaidev.malik Oneninesixsix Ajai Dev Malik

    I just happened to come across these comments by anonymous here…..

    http://space.brevardtimes.com/2012/10/suns-coronal-mass-ejection-to-reach.html

    Maybe you are troubling someone out there….. I happened to talk to them…..

    If people are stars…. then who is the sun ?….

    http://space.brevardtimes.com/2012/10/suns-coronal-mass-ejection-to-reach.html

    Okay I am Mr.anonymous….. Errr…. what do you see of me ?….. when you call my name……. “AJAI”…… looks so familiar to some, yeah it does….. looks somewhat similar to the name of “Tetra*^*^……

    nothing special, except we the people born now share our names, with them from the past….. AJAI is one of the names in Hindi of the planet “JUPITER”….. and they say the eye of jupiter shines in the sun…… AND it does for some….. BUT THIS IS WEIRD…..

    So read those comments thoroughly….. thanks….

    AND on 21-12-12….. I decided it was enough…… I had been trying to make contact since 2008-2009….. but you folks ain’t listening….. and troubling yourself…..

    So YOU SEE MORE SOLAR ACTIVITY…… Ahhhh…… and you might see filaments, when I am angry….. not many these days….. Oooh……

    But fear not , YOU JUST SEE A FLARE, when I meet others……. . Oooh I am so sorry, but they are the ones scaring you….. I didn’t even ring your doorbell…..

    Just shut down your sick satellites, and stop staring at the stars…. and you will regain PEACE….

    And now you do know me…. and my name….. The sun’s corona might get little bigger…. and that won’t kill either of us….

    Oooh……

    *************

    And I returned back to sanity (????)….. on 21-12-12…….

    *************

    So it is all about the names we have….. Ahhh….. and we suffer the same fate….. and the people with the names new & stranger are more successful….

    there seems no point in palying Jupiter & Sun no more….. even planet mercury been missing from the c2& c3 images for quite some time now…..

    SCANNING THE SKIES FOR A NAME better….. what is it that people are always proud of, and find adorable, when they have it….. and is also considered valuable & desirable by the people, who don’t have it…..

    Shall update you later on this…..

    Meanwhile, Suggestions for a new name for self are invited…. so hurry up, before they close the comments section here….

    You may follow up with my Facebook account here…..

    http://www.facebook.com/oneninesixsixajaidev.malik

    Thanks…..

    *************

  • http://www.facebook.com/oneninesixsixajaidev.malik Oneninesixsix Ajai Dev Malik

    I just happened to come across these comments by anonymous here…..

    http://space.brevardtimes.com/2012/10/suns-coronal-mass-ejection-to-reach.html

    Maybe you are troubling someone out there….. I happened to talk to them…..

    If people are stars…. then who is the sun ?….

    http://space.brevardtimes.com/2012/10/suns-coronal-mass-ejection-to-reach.html

    Okay I am Mr.anonymous….. Errr…. what do you see of me ?….. when you call my name……. “AJAI”…… looks so familiar to some, yeah it does….. looks somewhat similar to the name of “Tetra*^*^……

    nothing special, except we the people born now share our names, with them from the past….. AJAI is one of the names in Hindi of the planet “JUPITER”….. and they say the eye of jupiter shines in the sun…… AND it does for some….. BUT THIS IS WEIRD…..

    So read those comments thoroughly….. thanks….

    AND on 21-12-12….. I decided it was enough…… I had been trying to make contact since 2008-2009….. but you folks ain’t listening….. and troubling yourself…..

    So YOU SEE MORE SOLAR ACTIVITY…… Ahhhh…… and you might see filaments, when I am angry….. not many these days….. Oooh……

    But fear not , YOU JUST SEE A FLARE, when I meet others……. . Oooh I am so sorry, but they are the ones scaring you….. I didn’t even ring your doorbell…..

    Just shut down your sick satellites, and stop staring at the stars…. and you will regain PEACE….

    And now you do know me…. and my name….. The sun’s corona might get little bigger…. and that won’t kill either of us….

    Oooh……

    *************

    And I returned back to sanity (????)….. on 21-12-12…….

    *************

    So it is all about the names we have….. Ahhh….. and we suffer the same fate….. and the people with the names new & stranger are more successful….

    there seems no point in palying Jupiter & Sun no more….. even planet mercury been missing from the c2& c3 images for quite some time now…..

    SCANNING THE SKIES FOR A NAME better….. what is it that people are always proud of, and find adorable, when they have it….. and is also considered valuable & desirable by the people, who don’t have it…..

    Shall update you later on this…..

    Meanwhile, Suggestions for a new name for self are invited…. so hurry up, before they close the comments section here….

    You may follow up with my Facebook account here…..

    http://www.facebook.com/oneninesixsixajaidev.malik

    Thanks…..

    *************

  • Kookas

    Losing the ability to refridgerate food would be the least of our problems.

    Never mind people getting hungry – society would quite simply collapse. We can’t afford to lose power for more than a couple of days at most – a global power outage for even a month would take decades to recover from. It’d suck. To be honest I think a lot of lives would be lost just from people topping themselves.

  • Kookas

    Losing the ability to refridgerate food would be the least of our problems.

    Never mind people getting hungry – society would quite simply collapse. We can’t afford to lose power for more than a couple of days at most – a global power outage for even a month would take decades to recover from. It’d suck. To be honest I think a lot of lives would be lost just from people topping themselves.

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