Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Space Telescope Catches Monster Flare

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the big-boom dept.

158

gollum123 writes, "NASA's Swift satellite has seen a giant flare explode from a nearby star. Our sun also flares when twisted magnetic field lines in the solar atmosphere suddenly snap — but this was on a far larger scale, perhaps 100 million times as strong. The energy released by the explosion on II Pegasi was equivalent to about 50 quintillion atomic bombs. If the Sun were ever to produce such an outburst, it would almost certainly cause a mass extinction on Earth. II Pegasi is a binary system 135 light-years from Earth in the constellation Pegasus. Its two stars are close, only a few stellar radii apart; as a result, tidal forces cause both stars to spin quickly, rotating in lockstep once in seven days compared to the Sun's 28-day rotation period. Fast rotation is thought to be conducive to strong stellar flares."

cancel ×

158 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Reported on Election Day, Coincidence? (5, Funny)

lecithin (745575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757209)

It's Election Day, so I get into work early, before lunch even. The phone rings. Shit!

I turn the page on the excuse sheet. "COSMIC SOLAR FLARES" stares out at me. I'd better read up on that. Two minutes later
I'm ready to answer the phone.

"Hello?" I say.

The Voting machines are messed up, We can't vote!!!

"Ah, yes. Well, there's been some cosmic solar activity this morning, it always disrupts electronics..." I say, sweet as a sugar pie.

"Huh? But I my friends could vote in Itasca County"

"Yes, that's entirely possible, cosmic solar activity is very unpredictable in it's effects. Why just a few years ago, we had some votes just dissappear from a guys total during the middle of a recount!"

Re:Reported on Election Day, Coincidence? (5, Funny)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757553)

It's Election Day, so I get into work early, before lunch even. The phone rings. Shit!

I turn the page on the excuse sheet. "COSMIC SOLAR FLARES" stares out at me. I'd better read up on that. Two minutes later I'm ready to answer the phone.

"Hello?" I say.

The Voting machines are messed up, We can't vote!!!

"Ah, yes. Well, there's been some cosmic solar activity this morning, it always disrupts electronics..." I say, sweet as a sugar pie.

"Huh? But I my friends could vote in Itasca County"

"Yes, that's entirely possible, cosmic solar activity is very unpredictable in it's effects. Why just a few years ago, we had some votes just dissappear from a guys total during the middle of a recount!"
Offtopic?

Too bad the mods don't understand BOFH excuse calendar humor. But you did leave off the part where voters for the wrong party have their opinions corrected via an ingeneously improvised "patch" to the voting machine involving a cattle prod....

Re:Reported on Election Day, Coincidence? (3, Informative)

tunguska1908 (924356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757607)

The parent comment is an amusing narratve, but if we wanted to find some holes in it....

1) The article is in regard to a large stellar flare, not a solar one. Currently the Sun is at solar minimum, and while large solar activity can occur at this time of the cycle, such activity is rare. For those that are interested, the National Solar Observatory [nso.edu] has images of the current solar activity, and a current space weather report is available from the Space Environment Center [noaa.gov] . Besides all of that, the flare the article is referring to was detected close to a year ago.

2) Even if the storm referred to were from our own star, most of the effects of solar activity do not reach Earth for several days (especially those that affect our electronics). Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are large amounts of charged particles that can interact with our magnetic field causing geomagnetic storms. These particles take numerous hours to several days to travel from the Sun to Earth. On the other hand, radio interference can happen as soon as the storm is detected (8 minutes after the event). But even then, the antennas usually need to be pointing toward the Sun in order for the SNR to be low enough for problems.

Re:Reported on Election Day, Coincidence? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16758063)

"cosmic solar activity is very unpredictable in it's effects"

Yeah no kidding! It turned the perfectly usable possessive ITS into the ridiculous IT IS!

It's a trap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16757211)

How long until this story is tagged "itsatrap?"

Re:It's a trap! (2, Interesting)

lobotomir (882610) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757599)

Yeah, AC is right: initially the tag was used to mark all things Microsoft; now look at Slashdot's frontpage, and it's all over the place.

Re:It's a trap! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16759989)

It's not whether you're paranoid, it's whether you're paranoid enough . Basically everything commercial is a trap. Everything political is a trap. Why? Because it works, and therefore anyone who's not trying to trap you into something every five minutes is probably going to be less successful.

Re:It's a trap! (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 7 years ago | (#16759969)

I'm glad I'm not the only person to have noticed this recently. Every singly story is a trap apparently.

Pegasus Galaxy? Stargate? (1)

King of the Sea Peop (1024301) | more than 7 years ago | (#16760711)

My god. How long will we have to wait to see how Major Shepard caused this on SG:Atlantis? This has got to be the best thing for the conspiracy theorists in weeks...

WMD? (1, Funny)

CommunistHamster (949406) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757225)

50 quintillion atomic bombs? The pegasiuns have nukular weapons! Quickly, draw up sanctions/ignore/invade

Re:WMD? (1)

imikem (767509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757317)

If they have 50 quintillion nukes, you're welcome to lead the assault. I'll wait here, a non-Anonymous Coward. Guilty as charged.

Re:WMD? (0)

IceFoot (256699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16760107)

Clearly, they belong on the Axis of Evil!

Re:WMD? (4, Insightful)

Grave (8234) | more than 7 years ago | (#16760507)

Which bombs? North Korean bombs or the Russian Ivan bombs? The Ivan test was about 10,000 times more powerful than the North Korean bomb.

I find blanket statements like "More powerful than x nuclear bombs," to be infuriatingly alarmist. Give me a raw tonnage number any day. THAT interests me much more.

(Of course, I suppose the extra five zero's one might potentially add here aren't that significant, as it is probably still enough power either way to blow up the Earth.)

One down, billions to go (4, Funny)

darkonc (47285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757251)

I'mn scratching that system off of my list of possible destinations if we manage to run our current ecosystem into the ground and need to send refugees off to a replacement.

Is it an.. evil flare? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16757505)

I have just acquired a beam which will induce a "GIANT FLARE" inside the sun, which will in turn result in a mass extinction...

that is, unless, the world governments agree to give me...

50 QUINTILLION DOLLARS

Mmwwaa haaaa, mwaa haa haa, mwa haa haaaa!

Mass extinction? (4, Funny)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757255)

If the Sun were ever to produce such an outburst, it would almost certainly cause a mass extinction on Earth...

What if we all ran inside real quick?

Re:Mass extinction? (0)

aicrules (819392) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757361)

Only if you hide behind the toilet...or a box of tofurky.

Re:Mass extinction? (3, Funny)

Sqweegee (968985) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757407)

I believe the correct procedure when hit with "50 quintillion atomic bombs" is still to not look at the flash followed by duck and cover, isn't it?

Re:Mass extinction? (4, Funny)

moranar (632206) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757547)

From the HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy (movie version):

Barman: Did you say the world is coming to an end? Shouldn't we all lie on the floor or put paper bags over our heads?
Ford: If you like.
Barman: Will it help?
Ford: Not at all.

Re:Mass extinction? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#16759575)

I believe the correct response is to brace yourself. That much energy has quite a kick. It'll throw you off balance if you're not ready for it.

Re:Mass extinction? (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16759927)

You know, I never understood why people find the "duck and cover" thing so amusing.

Re:Mass extinction? (3, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16760053)

You know, I never understood why people find the "duck and cover" thing so amusing.

Personally I find it amusing because if you actually are nuked, the only thing that ducking and covering will accomplish is that your head will be very close to the proper location to kiss your ass goodbye.

Excellent send-up of this concept in the South Park episode Volcano (Season 1.)

Re:Mass extinction? (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757545)

Is there any evidence that earth has been affected by massive sun flares before?

As the article states, the fact that the sun is "middle-aged" means that such flares are less likely but surely they must still happen occasionally over the course of hundreds of millions of years?

Re:Mass extinction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16757957)

The proper procedure it to "Duck and Cover".
(Also protects you from nuclear blasts)

U.S Offical Advise 1945

Re:Mass extinction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16758769)

Duck and cover!

Re:Mass extinction? (1)

sweet 'n sour (595166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16758983)

Don't worry, it'll probably happen at night, thus saving the planet.

Somebody had to say it but... (1)

anzev (894391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16759125)

...imagine a beowolf cluster of these!

Re:Mass extinction? (1)

IceFoot (256699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16760201)

If the Sun were ever to produce such an outburst, it would almost certainly cause a mass extinction on Earth...

...if it was pointed TOWARD the Earth, and not AWAY from the Earth.

So we would have a 50% chance of survival. (c:)

Disgusting (1)

AssCork (769414) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757279)

I was standing behind the server racks and I thought I could sqeeze off a silent fart without anyone noticing. Sadly the offending trouser bomb got caught up in the fans of a 4U Server. The cheese-scented ass gas was recirculated through every fan in the room evenly distributing its greasy essence all over the datacenter. None of my fellow technicians will speak to me since this awful and embarrassing emission.

OOOoooh. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757285)

We likes pictures? Got any?

Here it is (1)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757385)

Massive star and flares [slashdot.org]

Re:Here it is (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757531)

I wish I knew about that website earlier. I bet I could waste my whole day there.

Re:Here it is (1)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757955)

Working...
Working....
Working.....
Working......

Process is terminated due to StackOverflowException.

Giant Solar Flare ASCII Art (4, Funny)

wsanders (114993) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757521)

Before Explosion:

                        O o

After Explosion:

                        O o===

Re:Giant Solar Flare ASCII Art (1)

brunson (91995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16758349)

LOL! I wish I had points to mod you up. :-)

the sun: a weapon of mass extinction (5, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757321)

The energy released by the explosion on II Pegasi was equivalent to about 50 quintillion atomic bombs. If the Sun were ever to produce such an outburst, it would almost certainly cause a mass extinction on Earth.

My fellow Americans, our only option is clear: We need to preemptively invade the sun.

Preemptive? Hell.... (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757483)

"My fellow Americans, our only option is clear: We need to preemptively invade the sun."

Preemptive? It's just striking back, is all. How much longer do we have to go on with them bombarding us with deadly radiation and killing us??!?!

Re:Preemptive? Hell.... (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757527)

It's all a conspiracy by the big Solar Power companies. They can't afford to let all of that energy fall into the hands of people who won't cowtow to them. That's why they've been lobbying so hard to get their executives into positions of power! It's all so clear now!

Re:Preemptive? Hell.... (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757843)

Oooooooooooh no! I'm not going down that road again. I've still got scars from the last time I cracked a joke about it.

KFG

Re:the sun: a weapon of mass extinction (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757691)

Show us the BMD (Beta of Mass Destruction).

KFG

Re:the sun: a weapon of mass extinction (1)

harp2812 (891875) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757925)

What kills me, is this comment currently has a higher Informative moderation than Funny... "My fellow Americans" indeed. ;)

Re:the sun: a weapon of mass extinction (1)

notnAP (846325) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757979)

OK, fine.

But I'm going to have to strongly oppose any plan that uses nukular weapons in space. I'm strongly opposed to the possibility of introducing nukular fallout in space.

Walk outside at night (1)

leonbrooks (8043) | more than 7 years ago | (#16759157)

Practically everything you see in the sky is nuclear fallout.

Come to think of it, the same is true during daytime.

Re:Walk outside at night (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#16759423)

So we need to be concerned about widespread violations of this important international treaty? I'm on that bandwagon!

Re:the sun: a weapon of mass extinction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16758189)

Nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Coal (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16758235)

My fellow Americans, our only option is clear: We need to preemptively invade the sun.


We regret to inform you Mr. President that the invasion plans will have to be put on hold as we are experiencing extreme development problems with the fleet of coal powered inter planetary invasion shuttles Defense Secretary Rumsfeld insisted we develop to carry the invasion force. We would furthermore like to reiterate our previous advice that persuade Mr. Rumsfeld to consider the use of a more conventional power source.

Respectfully
NASA

Re:the sun: a weapon of mass extinction (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 7 years ago | (#16758711)

Why did this get 4, interesting when it was clearly 5, funny?

ObQuote Futurama (1)

andphi (899406) | more than 7 years ago | (#16758767)

Leela: You know how much an [military base] that big would cost on the Sun?

Re:the sun: a weapon of mass extinction (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 7 years ago | (#16759339)

My fellow Americans, our only option is clear: We need to preemptively invade the sun.
Best idea I've heard today! I'll even lend you guys my conveniently fueled and ready Space Ark. I call it, "B". Your trusted allies will follow shortly in "A", just as soon as you've hit the shores and set up home base.

So where is the link to the picture in the Article (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16757355)

Isn't it nice that our tax dollars go to these awesome telescopes yet they can't show us a freaking picture.

Re:So where is the link to the picture in the Arti (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16757485)

Most stars appear like point sources even for the most powerful telescopes. In this case "see" probably means they have a graph of intensity over time.

Re:So where is the link to the picture in the Arti (3, Informative)

tunguska1908 (924356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757791)

Also, Swift is not designed to detect in the optical range. It's primarily designed to detect gamma rays, and in this case, x-rays. Any images that would be release would probably be spikes on a graph.

From the article...
"Swift's Burst Alert Telescope usually detects gamma-ray bursts, the most powerful explosions known, which arise from star explosions and star mergers. The II Pegasi flare was energetic enough create a false alarm for a burst detection. Scientists quickly knew this was a different kind of event, however, when the flare overwhelmed Swift's X-ray Telescope, a second instrument."

Re:So where is the link to the picture in the Arti (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16759469)

Swift does have an optical telescope that can detect light in the blue and ultraviolet bands. The reason that there is no pretty picture is that II Peg a star, and thus appears as a point source in the optical images. All that a picture would show is a small brightening in the point source. Not very interesting to look at.

Re:So where is the link to the picture in the Arti (1)

tunguska1908 (924356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16759867)

You are right; Swift does detect in the optical bands as well. (list of instruments on Swift) [nasa.gov] I guess it would have been better stated if I had said that Swift is not designed to use optical for finding these types of events. Gamma and x-ray tell us more about flares at this distance than visual data does. I suppose any of these frequencies could be overlayed in an x-y coordinate system to show intensity increases in a physical region, but as you pointed out, at this distance that would not be very interesting to look at. More information would be gained by looking at peaks on frequency graphs.

Anyone call Karl Rove yet? (3, Funny)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757357)

He arranged it to distract voters, and to also at the same time energize the "Keep us safe from space aliens" vote.

IANAS (I am not a scientist) (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757401)

"The energy released by the explosion on II Pegasi was equivalent to about 50 quintillion atomic bombs. If the Sun were ever to produce such an outburst, it would almost certainly cause a mass extinction on Earth."

This is just my unqualified, layman's opinion, but I agree.

Forget global warming... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757473)

Now we can have global BBQ with extra-crispy fries to go!

(BTW, There are no escape exits [google.com] . Have a nice day!)

It wasn't a solar flare... (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757487)

...it was just Carter trying to blow up another star. =)

She just wasn't happy with parting the Red Sea.

Uh, this is news . . . HOW? (2, Informative)

mmell (832646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757499)

The flare was seen in December 2005 on a star slightly less massive than the sun...

I'm sure it was news last year, though!

really slow news day.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16757605)

This happened over a hundred years ago..

Re:Uh, this is news . . . HOW? (1)

tunguska1908 (924356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757669)

The news article was just published yesterday. Many research findings take awhile before they are released to the press.

Re:Uh, this is news . . . HOW? (1)

x-guru (653854) | more than 7 years ago | (#16760125)

Thank goodness! I thought I was the only one who noticed that. How could none of the other 100s of /. posters noticed that they are reading an 11-month-old story on a leading-edge technology website!

C'mon folx, wake up! Details, people, details!!

--x

Major flare up... (0, Offtopic)

Zildy (32593) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757517)

We're...we're gonna need more tucks medicated pads...

A Zero Point module on Sony Battery Recall List? (1, Offtopic)

wa2flq (313837) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757529)



Someone forget to put SG-Atlantis on the notification list?

Re:A Zero Point module on Sony Battery Recall List (1)

lthown (737539) | more than 7 years ago | (#16758087)

I'm surprised it took this long for a Star Gate: Atlantis comment to pop-up. I read "Pegasus" and "explosion" and *IMMEDIATELY* thought of Atlantis. Must have been Dr. MacKay blowing up half a solar system again.

Re:A Zero Point module on Sony Battery Recall List (1)

jesdynf (42915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16759731)

Heh. Funny. But...


Informative? I hope to god I find that guy in meta. Meta-moderation needs a "nominate for public humiliation" button.

Old news (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16757555)

This is a 135 year old story!

What they don't tell you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16757559)

What they're not telling you is that many scientists suspect that extremely large flares are indeed possible from our Sun, but not likely. Translation- it could happen tomorrow, so make your peace.

New here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16757647)

The sun rotates every 28 days? And the moon is on a 28 day cycle? And women too? Weird.

Images and more Information (5, Informative)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757709)

Here is the NASA link to this item:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/swift/bursts/mon ster_flare.html [nasa.gov]

I really wish slashdot would just link the real news item instead of the crappy ones it always seems to find. There wasn't even an image on the one they linked.

Re:Images and more Information (5, Informative)

tunguska1908 (924356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16758055)

Note... the images are not from the event described in the article. While very informative, they are images of flares on the Sun. The event that is described in the article is rather distant to get that type of imagery.

Yeah, but what KIND of atomic bomb? (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757713)

50 quintillion atomic bombs

OK, so that's a lot, but are we talking 50 quintillion North Korean bombs, or 50 quintillion Really Big Cold War Nation-State Smashers? The point is, analogies like that certainly convey the notion of "A Whole Lot Of Energy," but are really not very meaningful. Not like Libraries of Congress or end-to-end hanging chads that you can really get your head around.

Re:Yeah, but what KIND of atomic bomb? (1)

EveLibertine (847955) | more than 7 years ago | (#16758061)

Agreed. Can we get that estimate in Megadeaths please? It could mean the difference between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless, distinguishable post-war environments.

Re:Yeah, but what KIND of atomic bomb? (1)

Jarnin (925269) | more than 7 years ago | (#16759239)

Yeah, they should use something like E=MC^2 as an analogy. That way they could say "The flare from II Pegasi was equal to X kilos of mass being converted into energy". That might give us a better idea of the kinds of energies they're talking about.

1 megaton = 4.2e15 J = about 50 grams of matter. (1)

ClayJar (126217) | more than 7 years ago | (#16759815)

Little Boy, the first atomic bomb (dropped on Hiroshima), was about 15 kilotons. Using that, one would get 3.75e19 kilograms of matter, or about 1/2000th of our moon.

On the other hand, if you use a 10 megaton device as an example, you get 2.5e21 kilograms of matter. That's roughly 1/30th of our moon.

Now, if you use a 1 gigaton device, instead, you'd get 2.5e23, which would be 3.4 moons worth of matter.

Finally, of course, you could just go with "BOOM!"

N-atomic bombs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16757813)

When did an atomic bomb become a unit of energy? Wouldn't it be more meaningful to give the output in calories (10^33) or electon volts (10^62) or hamburgers (10^27)?

global warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16757833)

But of course solar activity doesn't affect global warming or anything, right?

heres some pics (1)

10100111001 (931992) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757851)

Heres some pics of solar flares. [nasa.gov]

None are the one FTA, but it probably looks like these, only shaped like some sort of a monster.

quintillion? (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 7 years ago | (#16757935)

maybe it might make a bit more sense to use like exponential notation? A billion in the USA isw 10^9, in the UK, 10^12. A quintillion is even less well defined.

BTW if a quintillion is 10^18, it's not that much. Our Sun puts out every second about 10^11 equivalent megatons of energy 50 x 10^18 is only 50 (US) billion times as much.

Re:quintillion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16759381)

Our Sun puts out every second about 10^11 equivalent megatons of energy 50 x 10^18 is only 50 (US) billion times as much.
Hmm ... How big is that in "libraries of congress?"

Re:quintillion? (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16759689)

You think that the output of roughtly several ten 1000 years of sun in a few hours is nothing much?
I guess you would even consider a supernova not worthwhile...

How much flare? (4, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 7 years ago | (#16758057)

The question is, how much flare does II Pegasi need to really express itself? 26? 37? Sure, the requirement is 11 pieces, but I'm sure it doesn't want to just do "the minimum".

Now about those TPS reports...

Collision (1)

PeterJFraser (572070) | more than 7 years ago | (#16758091)

What would a star do if a planet sized object ran into it?

Re:Collision (3, Interesting)

ivanmarsh (634711) | more than 7 years ago | (#16758369)

I'm gonna' say: consume it quitely without much hoopla.
http://www.gulker.com/2006/04/09.html [gulker.com]
Keep in mind how far away from the Sun the Earth is in that image.

Re:Collision (1)

$0.02 (618911) | more than 7 years ago | (#16758427)

File a claim.

I would think an article with "seen" in the title (1)

THESuperShawn (764971) | more than 7 years ago | (#16758191)

would contain at least one picture. Heck, even an illustration would do.

Hollywood (1)

Cartack (628620) | more than 7 years ago | (#16758437)

"If the Sun were ever to produce such an outburst, it would almost certainly cause a mass extinction on Earth."

This sounds like a great premise for a hollywood sci-fi epic.

Swift song - AstroCappella (1)

tunguska1908 (924356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16758627)

For those of you that like music that teaches science, here's on about the Swift satellite (the satellite that detected the flare discussed in the article). You can listen to the lyrics here [astrocappella.com] and the lyrics are posted here [astrocappella.com] . AstroCappella is the group that recorded this; they have several rather interesting songs available.

Re:Swift song - AstroCappella (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16760105)

Wow.

I'm sure that back when I was a high school student, I would have fucking loved coming into my physics course and having an over-excited, 40-something bald guy with glasses play me music about a satellite. In fact, I don't know how I ever got into science without a few satellite songs!

Extinction? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16758717)

Scientists using NASA's Swift satellite have spotted a stellar flare on a nearby star so powerful that, had it been from our sun, it would have triggered a mass extinction on Earth.

Do they mean -
1. It would have caused mass extinction for sure
            or
2. It would have caused mass extinction, if the solar flare was pointing to the earth ?

My point being, the flare is directional. If it was not pointing to earth and still could have caused extinction, then it could mean that a much less powerful flare can cause extinction in earth, if it is pointing straight to earth.

I was unable to understand from the article, i.e. why the question.

Woah (3, Funny)

slackarse (875650) | more than 7 years ago | (#16758903)

I read that as Space Telescope Monster Catches Fire. Too early in the morning for that kinda headline.

Oblig: Office Space (not as good as BOFH Excuse ) (1)

JensenDied (1009293) | more than 7 years ago | (#16759101)

STAN
We need to talk. Do you know what this is about?

JOANNA
My, uh, flair.

STAN
Yeah. Or, uh, your lack thereof. I'm counting and I only see fifteen pieces. Let me ask you a question, Joanna.

JOANNA
Umm-hmm.

STAN
What do you think of a person who only does the bare minimum?

JOANNA
Huh. What do I think? Let me tell you what I think, Stan. If you want me to wear thirty-seven pieces of flair like your pretty boy Brian over there, then why don't you just make the minimum thirty-seven pieces of flair?

STAN
Well, I thought I remember you saying you wanted to express yourself.

JOANNA
Yeah. Yeah. Y'know what? I do. I do want to express myself. Ok? And I don't need thirty-seven pieces of flair to do it. (gives him the finger) All right? There's my flair! And this is me expressing myself. (holds up her hand) There it is! I hate this job! I hate this goddamn job and I don't need it!!

So let me get this straight: (1)

thegnu (557446) | more than 7 years ago | (#16759897)

If the sun starts spinning about 4 times faster, it may provoke a solar flare that will kill us all?

Won't anything that gets the sun spinning like a top, oh... KILL US FIRST?

Units? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16760095)

Umm atomic bombs? uhhh ok? Thats about as useless as saying, "a million bazillion atomic bannanas". We need to know the power not the quantity. Are we talking Ktons? Mtons? Gigatons? what? a million trillion North korea bombs is not impressive. That many in the massive 100+ megaton soviet nukes would be.

I'll bite (1)

LM741N (258038) | more than 7 years ago | (#16760199)

I for one welcome our new ionic overloards.

I'm game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16760207)

You had me at 'monster'. That would have been interesting. Solar flares, meh, not so much.
Wow, I feel trillions of space particles bombarding my genes. Do you feel that?

Not a monster flare... (2, Funny)

larpon (974081) | more than 7 years ago | (#16760587)

II Pegasi is a binary system 135 light-years from Earth
Since the system is binary... This must be what the telescope actually saw: 01001111 01001101 01000110 01000111 01000010 01001111 01001111 01010101 01010101 01010101 01001101

Re:Not a monster flare... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16760963)

I modded you funny, but only on the condition that you reply and tell us what you just wrote out...I'm too lazy to bother figuring it out myself.

Do it or I will post logged in and wipe out the mod.

(Sweet, I just blackmailed someone with my mod points)

Arthur C. Clarke was right! (1)

Caractacus Potts (74726) | more than 7 years ago | (#16761043)

That's not a solar flare, it was a black monolith using zero-point energy to smite one of it's failed experiments on creating intelligence.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>