Using observations from ESO’s VLT, astronomers were able for the first time to reconstruct the site of a flare on a solar-like star located 150 light years away. The study of this young star, nicknamed ‘Speedy Mic’ because of its fast rotation, will help scientists better understand the youth of our Sun.
The astronomers  observed the star BO Microscopii  during two consecutive nights in October 2006, simultaneously with the UVES spectrograph on ESO’s Very Large Telescope and ESA’s XMM-Newton X-ray satellite.
Using a technique called ‘Doppler imaging’ , the astronomers reconstructed images of the surface of the star, detecting the presence of several spots. A few are near the visible pole, while most spots are asymmetrically distributed at mid-latitudes.
“The image we could secure of Speedy Mic is, given its distance, a real prowess, that allows us to localise for the first time ever the source of a flare and its surrounding,” says Uwe Wolter, lead author of the paper relating the discovery.
The X-ray observations indeed identified several flares, which are sudden and vast releases of energy. For one of them, the astronomers could pinpoint its origin on the surface of the star. The flare, lasting about 4 hours, was a hundred times more energetic than a large solar flare and considerably larger than solar coronal loops.
The surprising finding, the team says, was the location of the flare. Contrary to our Sun, the site of the observed flare does not correspond to the detected spots.
“Interestingly, the flare occurs on a rather inconspicuous portion of the star’s surface, away from the main concentration of activity in terms of dark spots,” explains Wolter.
Speedy Mic is a very young star: with an age of only about 30 million years, it is roughly 150 times younger than the Sun. “It is very likely that our young Sun was such a fast rotator as well,” says Wolter. “Studying Speedy Mic is thus like observing our own host star while still in its infancy and so, better understand how the eruptions on the young Sun affected the planets. These studies may also contribute to the understanding of current solar eruptions which can cause havoc in our telecommunications and power distributions.”Notes
 Sunspots, which are cooler, but still very hot regions of the Sun’s surface, are known to be regions of intense magnetic activity.
Henri Boffin | alfa
Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences