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What do you think about the super flare of Proxima Centauri?

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posted on Mar, 3 2018 @ 07:45 AM
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a reply to: stormcell

Back around this time I was able to pick up radio stations from North Dakota in the evening. West texas had terrible radio. The station i got from ND was just as bad.




posted on Mar, 3 2018 @ 10:10 AM
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The flare of Proxima Centauri would reportedly have been about ten times as strong as those that reach Earth from the Sun. Adequate protection by an atmosphere and magnetic field at Proxima b would seem unlikely. Finding one flare of this size from Proxima Centauri strongly indicates that a great many others would have happened, too. Their cumulative effect would probably be to erode any atmosphere from the planet, causing it to leak away into space.

It's been calculated that there is roughly an 85 percent chance of finding Earth-like planets in the Alpha Centauri system, around either of the larger, Sun-like stars, rather than the red dwarf, Proxima. These would be far enough from Proxima to avoid the harmful effects of its flares. They would, in the scale of interstellar distances, though, be nearly as reachable by fast space probes, as Proxima, and nearly as favorably placed for SETI monitoring.



posted on Mar, 3 2018 @ 10:21 AM
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originally posted by: alpha015
So.. the other day I read that Proxima Centauri released a huge flare last year, decreasing the chances of existing life in Proxima b

What do you think about it? I also read that the flare lasted 2 minutes.. what if the flare happened in the part of the star that was not facing Proxima b? Proxima Centauri rotates every 82 days.. I think that maybe the flare might have been released on the oposite side towards empty space (or other exoplanets)


I think the implication here is NOT that this one particular flare would have wiped out any life on nearby planets, but rather that Proxima Centauri may be susceptible to such flares occurring relatively often, thus decreasing the chance for life to flourish on the planet.

Of course, it could be that Proxima b has a strong magnetic field reducing the radioation exposure, or even if it doesn't, it could be the case that any life that DID manage to get a foothold on that planet may have evolved a way to be immune to the radiation.

Life finds a way, and I would not be shocked to find out that life could exist on planets regularly flooded by solar flares.



edit on 3/3/2018 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 3 2018 @ 10:32 AM
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originally posted by: ziplock9000
a reply to: alpha015

I think when the educated experts tell you that it "decreased the chances of existing life in Proxima b" and you're just a random person on the internet, you have to go with the experts.


That's not true at all.

There are ways that any average-to-moderately intelligent person can learn about these topics by just doing a little research. The internet is full of very good research and self-teaching materials.

A person should be open to any new information learned on the internet (even on some Youtube channels), but they should never blindly believe something someone tells them " just because they said so" without first using logic, reason, prior confirmed information, or new research to confirm that new information.



posted on Mar, 3 2018 @ 02:58 PM
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a reply to: swanne


You'd need a hell of a magnetosphere, much much more stronger than the Earth ever had.
The flare in question, like solar flares, was a burst of broadband electromagnetic radiation. The magentosphere (no matter how strong) has no effect on electromagnetic radiation.

While our atmosphere is able to shield us from the radiation of flares which the Sun produces, it may not be able to do so against a flare of the intensity of that from Proxima Centauri.

edit on 3/3/2018 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 3 2018 @ 03:02 PM
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a reply to: Phage

Electromagnetic, eh?

Thanks for the clarification.


In which case, it'd indeed be even harder for life to survive, let alone form a technological civilization, in these conditions.

Any info of the spectrum of the spike?



posted on Mar, 3 2018 @ 03:07 PM
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a reply to: Soylent Green Is People

I second that. There are plenty of simple experiments that people can also carry out and verify that what "they say" is actually confirmed scientifically.



posted on Mar, 3 2018 @ 03:16 PM
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a reply to: swanne
I think the observation was in the 1.3mm band but, like solar flares, the flare would have been broadband, X-ray through radio.

edit on 3/3/2018 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 3 2018 @ 03:18 PM
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a reply to: Phage

Indeed, makes sense.


Thanks.


edit on 3-3-2018 by swanne because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 3 2018 @ 03:19 PM
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a reply to: Phage

The magentosphere is that a new color?



posted on Mar, 3 2018 @ 03:20 PM
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a reply to: MarlbBlack

It's a new thing: instead of a color wheel, Phage introduces the color sphere.

One more dimension of awesomeness.



posted on Mar, 3 2018 @ 04:17 PM
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originally posted by: carewemust
a reply to: stormcell

Can the space station stop circling the Earth and "hide" on the side that will not be affected by a massive incoming solar flare...until the danger has passed?



No, they've got a fixed orbital period and radius. They have to keep circling Earth in order to maintain height. a CME would completely envelope the Earth and get funneled by the magnetic field.



posted on Mar, 3 2018 @ 11:19 PM
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a reply to: carewemust

No the energy required (Delta V - change in velocity) is too much to achieve with todays technology

Also the stress would tear it apart as ISS is composed of several different modules linked together

If thing got too hot the ISS could be abandoned using Soyuz "lifeboats" to reenter the atmosphere back to earth

Crew could shelter in place, packing containers of water or food around the area. Hydrogen and carbon molecules '
slow down and absorb the radiation particles


edit on 3-3-2018 by firerescue because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 10:30 AM
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originally posted by: Ross 54
The flare of Proxima Centauri would reportedly have been about ten times as strong as those that reach Earth from the Sun. Adequate protection by an atmosphere and magnetic field at Proxima b would seem unlikely. Finding one flare of this size from Proxima Centauri strongly indicates that a great many others would have happened, too. Their cumulative effect would probably be to erode any atmosphere from the planet, causing it to leak away into space.

It's been calculated that there is roughly an 85 percent chance of finding Earth-like planets in the Alpha Centauri system, around either of the larger, Sun-like stars, rather than the red dwarf, Proxima. These would be far enough from Proxima to avoid the harmful effects of its flares. They would, in the scale of interstellar distances, though, be nearly as reachable by fast space probes, as Proxima, and nearly as favorably placed for SETI monitoring.



originally posted by: Soylent Green Is People
Life finds a way, and I would not be shocked to find out that life could exist on planets regularly flooded by solar flares.
There could be exceptions, but as more flare observations are noted with red dwarf stars like Proxima b, it is increasingly apparent that the planets close enough to the red dwarfs to be in what we would call the "habitable zone" where liquid water can exist would get blasted by flares to the extent that as Ross 54 said, the atmosphere could be completely stripped away, and I would add possibly any oceans also. Therefore without water, it's hard to see how life as we know it could exist.

There are a host of other issues with the potential for life around red dwarf stars, such as the energy output being so low that even though Proxima b is one of the closest stars to us, we can't even see it (with the naked eye), and even if there was water, water blocks most of the infrared radiation put out by red dwarfs.

I suspect Ross 54 is correct that life will have better chances around the larger, more sun-like stars, which tend to be more stable than red dwarfs.

It's also noteworthy that most stars in our galaxy and most stars in most galaxies are thought to be red dwarfs like Proxima b, and if they have the same kind of problems as proxima b, then one might suggest most stars in the universe (red dwarfs) may create environments inhospitable for life as we know it.

That still leaves a minority of stars like our sun and others which are not red dwarfs around which life could be more likely to evolve, and I suppose there is also the possibility of life not as we know it, maybe not carbon-based or doesn't need liquid water but it's hard to speculate about that since we don't really know anything about it or if it's possible.

Here's an interesting article on space.com about the possibility of life around red dwarfs:

Can Life Thrive Around a Red Dwarf Star?

Roughly three quarters of the stars in the galaxy are red dwarfs, but planet searches have typically passed over these tiny faint stars because they were thought to be unfriendly to potential life forms.

But this prejudice has softened lately. Preliminary results from a dedicated research program have shown that planets around red dwarfs could be habitable if they can maintain a magnetic field for a few billion years.
I apparently haven't softened my prejudice as much as some people, because there are several problems with this magnetic field idea.

First, as we discussed here with Proxima b, would the magnetic field even be enough to protect the planet against such flares when the planet is so close to the star?

Second, as the article mentions, the likelihood of substantial magnetic fields for tidally locked planets rotating so slowly is not high:


The fact that potentially habitable planets around a red dwarf are tidally locked implies they are rotating slowly around their axis. By the same physics that applies to stars, slow rotation will mean a weak magnetic field that could shut down completely.

This is what happened to Mars. It had a magnetic field 3.5 billion years ago, but when its liquid iron core solidified, the field turned off. Without this protective shield, the solar wind stripped away most of the planet's atmosphere and liquid water.
So Mars is an example of what happens without a protective magnetic shield, and mars is much further from our sun than planets in the habitable zone are from their red dwarfs.

However they think there might still be hope for very slowly rotating planets to have magnetic fields if they are much more massive than Earth:


To avoid this fate around a red dwarf, Guinan speculates that a planet might need to be more massive than Earth. The large liquid iron core inside a super Earth (with a mass between 2 and 10 times Earth's) could perhaps maintain a magnetic field in spite of the slower rotation rate.
Possibly, but would such a magnetic shield be enough to protect against powerful flares as seen with proxima b? Proxima b may have no atmosphere and no ocean:

Superflare Blasts Proxima b, the Nearest Exoplanet, Dimming Hopes of Life

"Over the billions of years since Proxima b formed, flares like this one could have evaporated any atmosphere or ocean and sterilized the surface, suggesting that habitability may involve more than just being the right distance from the host star to have liquid water," [Meredith MacGregor, of the Carnegie Institution for Science] added.


edit on 201835 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on Mar, 8 2018 @ 02:53 PM
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a reply to: Arbitrageur


This is true, and it mat be more likely than not that there is no atmosphere. However, it is still an unknown, and some have hypothesized that maybe it could retain an atmosphere, and maybe even be habitable despite it potentially being tidally locked.

Here are a couple of articles on the subject.

Is the Nearest Alien Planet Proxima b Habitable? 'It's Complicated'

The question of the rotation rate of proxima b -vs- magnetic field generation is brought up in this article. The idea put forth by the researcher in the artcle is that convection of the core material in planet that is not rotating quickly may be sufficient to create magnetic fields:

For years, scientists thought that slowly rotating planets such as Proxima b could not support a strong magnetic field.

"However, more recent research has shown that planetary magnetic fields are actually supported by convection, a process by which hot material at the center of the core rises, cools and then returns," Barnes wrote. "Rotation helps, but Dr. Peter Driscoll and I recently calculated that convection is more than sufficient to maintain a strong magnetic field for billions of years on a tidally locked and tidally heated planet. Thus, it is entirely possible that Proxima b has a strong magnetic field and can deflect flares."


The article also addresses the idea that a tidally locked planet close to its star may have one side that is way too hot and one side way too cold. However, mixing of the potential atmosphere due to winds may act to temper those conditions:

Planets that are close in tend to become tidally locked, always keeping the same face toward their star. Barnes noted that scientists once thought tidal locking didn't bode well for habitability; the star-facing side would be too hot for life, while the dark side would be too cold. But newer modeling work suggests that heat could be distributed more evenly via winds, making tidally locked worlds potentially habitable (if they have an atmosphere), he added.



Here's another article on the potential for Prxima B to have a magnetic field, atmosphere, and (some) temperate conditions:

If Proxima b has an atmosphere like Earth's, it might be habitable


Proxima b orbits very close to its star, which means that one side of it may permanently face the light source while the other remains dark and cold. Even in this scenario, the "hot" side maxed out at a comfortable 62 degrees Fahrenheit. (The cold side was about -190 degrees, so maybe that's not a great place to build our future colonies…)



posted on Mar, 9 2018 @ 10:59 AM
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originally posted by: Zelun
Hey!

Great topic. Okay, I think that no, I don't think we should switch targets because even if all life had been extinguished there would still be traces of it to detect. Plus, the Earth has gotten baked(maybe, I'm making the assumption that CMEs are what causes magnetic field reversals) many MANY times and yet life persists. And it's the closest shot. I say we keep shooting for Proxima Centauri.


indeed, i agree with you, active flare stars are a problem, but i think that if proxima b had a magnetic field stronger than earth, those flares wouldn't be much of a problem



posted on Mar, 9 2018 @ 01:25 PM
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a reply to: alpha015

Magnetic fields can't stop light.

The flare was electromagnetic in nature. This means deadly rays such as ultraviolet and X-rays flooding the surface. And much, much more rays than what the Sun produces.

Alot more.



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