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 Kepler Telescope Studies Star Superflares

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Cassidy Mozak



Number of posts : 46
Registration date : 2012-02-03

PostSubject: Kepler Telescope Studies Star Superflares   Thu May 17, 2012 11:43 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18089695

The superflares discussed in the article refer to the magnetic energy released by stars possessing large starspots. The risk associated with these particles being channelled toward orbiting space bodies, like our Earth, is the fact that they have the ability to damage a planets atmosphere which may eliminate the conditions needed for life to thrive on the planet. Luckily, our Sun rotates slowly and therefore its superflares do not occur frequently. Over a long period of time however, the predicted effect of superflares on the Earth and its atmosphere is that they will lead to the further breakdown of the ozone layer. This will allow excess radiation to reach the species residing on the surface of the Earth resulting in their eventual extinction. On the other hand, it is thought that these superflares also have the ability to provide the activation energy needed to initiate the chemical reactions that yield the products neccessary for life to begin on these planets. I don't believe that we will be able to protect the Earth and other space bodies from these superflares. Nature may just have to take its course in this case, and we will have to deal with the consequences in the future. But with scientific advancements today, you never know!
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Belinda Ongaro



Number of posts : 32
Registration date : 2012-02-02

PostSubject: Re: Kepler Telescope Studies Star Superflares   Sun May 20, 2012 9:09 am

In addition to the slow rotating nature of our Sun, the fact that our solar system's gas giant planets orbit at a significant distance from the host star contributes to the less frequent occurrence of super-flares. According to a current model, magnetic interactions with close orbiting giants may be the cause of super-flares in distant planetary systems. As for Cassidy's comments, I agree completely. Nature will continue to pose challenges, but as in this situation, what we may deem a detriment, may in fact be essential to life in other aspects when the flip side is taken into consideration. However, we can always hope that as a planet we will begin to make more environmentally conscious choices to slow the inevitable processes of our universe rather than encourage them.
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