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New Japanese telescope detects immense “superflare” on the nearby star



Superflare concept

The new Seimei telescope from KyotoU detects enormous “super flare” on nearby stars

The cold, dark chaos of space is full of secrets.

Fortunately, the way we look into the Void of Void is increasing and now includes the 3.8-meter Seimei Telescope from Kyoto University.

With this new instrument, located on a hill in Okayama west of Kyoto, astronomers from the Graduate School of Science at the University of Kyoto and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan have succeeded in capturing 1

2 star-torch phenomena on AD Leonis, a red dwarf in 16 light years, to discover way. In particular, one of these torches was 20 times larger than that from our own sun.

“Solar flares are sudden explosions that emanate from the surfaces of stars, including our own sun,” explains lead author Kosuke Namekata.

“In rare cases, an extremely large one Super flare will happen. These lead to massive magnetic storms, which, if they emanate from our sun, can significantly affect the technological infrastructure of the earth. “

Therefore, understanding the properties of superflares can be important, but due to their rarity, it is difficult to collect data from our sun. This prompted the researchers to search for Earth-like exoplanets and to study the stars that orbit them.

Writing in the Publications by the Astronomical Society of JapanThe team reports to AD Leonis about a long week in which Seimei – along with other observation facilities – was targeted.

Super flares AD Leonis

Observation of the star torches on AD Leonis at 16 light years away. Because of its lower temperature, it is a major target for the study of torches and the more explosive “super torch”. Photo credit: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

This red type M dwarf has lower temperatures than that of our sun, which leads to a high incidence of flares. The team expected some of them to be large and was amazed when they discovered a superflare on the first night of observations.

“Our analysis of the superflare has produced some very interesting data,” explains Namekata.

Light from excited hydrogen atoms in the super torch showed a lot of high-energy electrons that were about an order of magnitude larger than the typical torches of our sun.

“It is the first time that this phenomenon has been reported, and this is thanks to the high precision of the Seimei telescope,” says Namekata.

The team also observed torches where the light from excited hydrogen atoms increased but did not correspond to an increase in brightness over the rest of the visible spectrum.

“This was new for us, too, because typical flare studies observed the continuum of the light spectrum – the broad wavelength range – and not the energy of certain atoms,” continues Namekata.

The high quality of this data was due to the new telescope, which the team hopes will open doors for new revelations related to extreme space events.

Kazunari Shibata, director of the study, concludes: “Further information on these fundamental stellar phenomena will help us predict super flares and possibly mitigate magnetic storm damage here on Earth.”

“We may even understand how these emissions can affect the existence of life on other planets.”

Reference: “Optical and X-ray observations of star flares on an active M-dwarf AD Leonis with the Seimei telescope, SCAT, NICER and OISTER” by Kosuke Namekata, Hiroyuki Maehara, Ryo Sasaki, Hiroki Kawai, Yuta Notsu and Adam F. Kowalski Joel C Allred, Wataru Iwakiri, Yohko Tsuboi, Katsuhiro L. Murata, Masafumi Niwano, Kazuki Shiraishi, Ryo Adachi, Kota Iida, Motoki Oeda, Satoshi Honda, Miyako Tozuka, Noriyuki Katoh, Hiroki Onozato, Soshi Okamoto, Keisuj Isigi, Naoto Yasuyuki Wakamatsu, Yusuke Tampo, Daisaku Nogami and Kazunari Shibata, July 9, 2020, Publications by the Astronomical Society of Japan.
DOI: 10.1093 / pasj / psaa051




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