Stellar superflares' trigger challenged | Science News


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Stellar superflares' trigger challenged

A 'hot Jupiter' may not be needed for huge eruptions on sunlike stars

4:56pm, May 16, 2012

Not just a sartorial trend in ’70s trousers, superflares are enormous stellar eruptions that dwarf the most energetic sneeze the sun is likely to produce.

For more than a decade, astronomers thought these outbursts resulted from magnetic interactions between a star and a tightly orbiting, and therefore hot, Jupiter-size planet. But data from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft suggest that while a magnetic trigger does ignite mega-eruptions on sunlike stars, snuggled-up Jupiters don’t appear to be necessary, a team of scientists from Japan reports online May 16 in Nature.

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