A Solar Flare Bursts Off The Left Limb Of The Sun In This Image Captured By NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory
A solar flare bursts off the left limb of the sun in this image captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory at 07:41 EST (11:41 GMT) June 10, 2014 Reuters

The Sun could emit powerful flares of energy that could destroy many of the things on which human life depends, scientists have warned after spotting a huge superflare in the skies. Scientists saw a massive superflare unleashed by a binary star (KIC9655129) that looks much like the Sun, triggering fears of similar flares within the solar system.

The effects of the solar flares that are occasionally seen to disrupt communication systems on Earth are nothing compared to the destructive potential of huge superflares, says a report in the Independent, citing a new study. The study says superflares from the Sun could have the power of a billion one megaton nuclear bombs – enough to destroy the communication and energy systems on Earth.

The newspaper quoted lead scientist Chloe Pugh of the University of Warwick as saying that a superflare from the Sun would have disastrous consequences for life on Earth. “Our GPS and radio communication systems could be severely disrupted and there could be large-scale power blackouts as a result of strong electrical currents being induced in power grids,” she says.

According to the Science World Report, the superflare spotted by the scientists indicates that the Sun has the potential to unleash flares 1,000 greater than previously recorded. It quoted Chloe as saying that “stars very similar to the Sun have been observed to produce enormous flares, called superflares.” She, however, clarifies that “to give us a better indication of whether the sun could produce a catastrophic superflare, we need to determine whether the same physical processes are responsible for both stellar superflares and solar flares."

The scientists used data from Nasa’s Kepler space telescope to analyse the wave patterns of the flare from the binary star. They concluded that both solar flares and stellar superflares involve the same physical processes.

Contact the writer at feedback@ibtimes.com.au or tell us what you think below