Proxima Centauri Flare, Artist Conception

Proxima Centauri Flare, Artist Conception

An artist’s impression of a superflare from Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun (Proxima Centauri means ‘nearest [star] of Centaurus’), modeled after the loops of glowing hot gas seen in the largest solar flares. The exoplanet Proxima b is shown in the foreground. Proxima b, the closest known exoplanet to the Solar System, orbits its star 20 times closer than the Earth orbits the Sun, at a distance of roughly 0.05 AU (7,500,000 km; 4,600,000 mi). A flare 10 times larger than a major solar flare would blast Proxima b with 4,000 times more radiation than the Earth gets from our Sun’s flares. At its peak, the flare increased Proxima Centauri’s brightness by 1,000 times over 10 seconds. Image credit: Roberto Molar Candanosa, Carnegie Institution for Science / NASA / SDO / JPL.

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