Ultraviolet light from giant stellar flares can destroy a planet’s habitability. New research from the Evryscope will help astrobiologists understand how much radiation planets experience during superflares and whether life could exist on worlds beyond our solar system.
Super flares are bursts of energy that are 10 to 1,000 times larger than the biggest flares from the Earth’s sun. These flares can bathe a planet in an amount of ultraviolet light huge enough to doom the chances of life surviving there.
We have for the first time measured the temperature of a large sample of super flares from stars, and the flares’ likely ultraviolet emissions. Our findings, published on arxiv Oct. 5 ahead of print in Astrophysical Journal, will allow researchers to put limits on the habitability of planets that are targets of upcoming planet-finding missions.