Astronomers have spotted a monstrous stellar flare coming from a baby star 685 light-years away that’s estimated to be 10،000 times larger than any such event emitted by our sun، as the Daily Mail said.
Experts say the stellar ‘tantrum’ could provide a window into the birth of potentially habitable exoplanets، revealing how huge events shake up the material orbiting distant stars.
The M-type star is just 2 million years old، meaning it has yet to reach the size at which it will remain for most of its life. The flare was seen coming from a star called NGTS J121939.5-355557. It was spotted by researchers using the Next-Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) telescope array in Chile.
Though M-type stars are known to have ultra-strong magnetic fields، typically preventing this type of outburst، the researchers say the rare event spotted in the recent study likely occurs about every three years.
‘This is normally a star that shows little activity and stays a constant brightness،’ said University of Warwick Ph.D. student James Jackman.
‘Then، on this one particular night، we saw it suddenly grow seven times brighter than normal for a few hours، which is pretty extreme. And then after that it goes back to normal. ‘We see these types of flares on the Sun، but no-where near as big as this،' the researcher says.
‘On our Sun، you can do incredibly detailed studies on this kind of activity. It's difficult to extend that understanding to other stars because the data we need hasn't been available until now.’
According to the team، the star is what’s known as a pre-main sequence star، meaning it’s still in the early stages of its lifecycle.
‘This is an incredibly young star، only about 2 million years old،’ Jackman says.
‘You'd call it a baby – it's going to live for ten of billions of years، so it's in the first one percent of its lifetime.