Superflare From the Sun Could Threaten Life on Earth

 

Scientists have recently warned that a superflare from our sun could be disastrous for life on earth.  They have come to this result by observing a superflare  from another star  in our galaxy which is a lot like our sun.

Such a superflare could produce the energy equivalent to one billion megaton bombs and interfere with communications  as well as other electrical systems on our planet. It  would disrupt life on earth because we are highly dependent on computers and communications systems.

Scientists analysed the data which was transmitted through the Kepler space telescopeEven though such a scenario is possible, the conditions on the sun make it unlikely for such a superflare to occur.

Solar flares occur when energy is released form the sun's atmosphere. A superflare on the other hand would be about  a thousand times more powerful than anything  the sun has produced until now.

In the past solar flares have caused problems with communications systems, however engineers have been able to cope with these problems and bring systems back online.

 

The most powerful solar storm that mankind has witnessed took place in 1859.  It had the power of 10 billion nuclear bombs and did severe damage to the North American telegraph system.

 

Solar flare

Solar flare - outburst of solar energy

 

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Words

  • analyse = examine something closely, in order to understand it
  • billion = a thousand million
  • cause = lead to
  • conditions = here: the situation on the sun's surface
  • cope with = deal with, handle
  • data = information
  • disastrous = something very bad
  • disrupt = cause problems
  • engineer = person who plans and builds bridges, roads etc.. and repairs them
  • equivalent = the same as
  • even though = while
  • galaxy = one of a large group of stars that make up our universe
  • highly dependent = we need something very much and cannot live without it
  • however = but
  • interfere with = here: to make something worse
  • mankind = all humans as a group
  • megaton = the energy of one million tons of TNT
  • nuclear bomb = very powerful bomb that uses nuclear energy to kill people and destroy large areas
  • observe = look at carefully
  • occur = happen
  • recently = a short time ago
  • release = to set free
  • scenario = situation that could possibly happen
  • scientist = person who is trained in science and works in a lab
  • severe = strong
  • space telescope = object in earth orbit that makes pictures of faraway stars and planets
  • telegraph = old-fashioned method of sending messages using radio or electric signals
  • transmit = send
  • unlikely = not probable
  • witness = to see something happen