NASA warns of possible mega Solar flares powerful enough to destroy all the technology as we know it

It was the year 2000 and scientists had never seen anything like it: astronomers reported evidence of "superflares" on distant stars - solar explosions thousands of times more energetic than typical solar flares of our star.

As the researchers noted in subsequent studies, these intense eruptions were more common in young stars in rapid rotation and stars exhibiting high levels of magnetic activity. Perhaps our oldest and quiet sun never do something so violent, at least that's what it is speculated.


Art print of a superflare. (Credits: NASA / ESA)

"It is believed that star-like stars spinning basically do not have high magnetic activity events like superflares," explains a team of astronomers led by Yuta Notsu of the University of Colorado, who unfortunately suggests that this may be wrong.

In a new analysis of the superflare events observed by the Kepler space telescope, researchers report that these events can in fact be produced by stars similar to the Sun, although much less often than by younger, magnetically active stars.

"Our study shows that superflares are rare events," says Notsu. "But there is some possibility that we might experience such an event in the next 100 years or so," he concluded.

To further understand, the Notsu team made new spectroscopic observations with Kepler data, also using data from the Gaia probe from the European Space Agency and the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico. In all, they found evidence of 43 Sun-like stars that had produced super-stars in the past - and while their statistical analysis provides clearer insights into the characteristics of these energy bursts, researchers say we need more data to understand the likelihood of a superflare of the sun.

Existing research suggests that a powerful enough solar explosion could destroy all the technology as we know it, potentially causing trillions of dollars of damage worldwide and unleashing all sorts of strange and unpredictable catastrophes on a planet so dependent on technology.