Washington DC (SPX) Jan 13, 2022 EK Draconis illuminates an unimagined picture of how superflares...
In 2020, I worked as part of a research team led by Dr. Kosuke Namekata, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, that successfully witnessed a massive CME taking place on a distant star.
On April 5, 2020, we observed the beginning of a CME forming on EK Draconis.
At roughly 50-125 million years in age and 111 light-years from Earth, EK Draconis is a young, solar-type star similar to our Sun, making it a prime candidate to make such extrapolations.
Using NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and ground-based telescopes including Kyoto University's SEIMEI Telescope, we captured the "First" evidence of a filament eruption - the early phase of a CME associated with a powerful superflare relative to the star's size and age.
This rare observation suggests that a strong CME, 10 times larger in mass than the largest recorded solar CME, can occur from a superflare on a young, Sun-like star.
This appeared to be a CME flying away from the star's surface.
This observation reveals a previously unimagined picture of how superflares and CMEs can affect the surrounding interplanetary space - it's the first observational evidence that ejecta from a solar-type star may shape the evolution of planetary atmospheres and the birth and maintenance of life.
The frequency of severe space weather events on our current Sun is expected to be low, but a massive CME from our own Sun could spell devastating effects on Earth should it happen.
Although our Sun is much older, it suggests that large CMEs of its "Early" years may have shaped young-Earth into the world we live in today.
Studying CMEs could illuminate the historic evolution of planets in our solar system while serving as a warning beacon for the future.