Superflare

  • Released Thursday, October 9th, 2014
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:50PM
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On April 23, 2014, NASA's Swift satellite detected the strongest, hottest, and longest-lasting sequence of stellar flares ever seen from a nearby red dwarf star. The outbursts came from one of the stars in a close binary system known as DG Canum Venaticorum, or DG CVn for short, located about 60 light-years away. Both stars are dim red dwarfs with masses and sizes about one-third of our sun's. When stellar flares erupt they emit radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to visible, ultraviolet and X-ray light. At 5:07 p.m. EDT on April 23, the rising tide of X-rays from DG CVn's initial blast triggered Swift’s detector. Scientists found the explosion was as much as 10,000 times more powerful than the largest solar flare ever recorded. Watch the video to learn more.

NASA's Swift satellite captured this X-ray image of DG CVn’s giant flare about an hour after the initial outburst.

NASA's Swift satellite captured this X-ray image of DG CVn’s giant flare about an hour after the initial outburst.

Following the initial flare, Swift detected a series of successively weaker blasts from DG CVn over several days.

Following the initial flare, Swift detected a series of successively weaker blasts from DG CVn over several days.

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Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Cover image courtesy of NASA/GSFC/S. Wiessinger
DG CVn X-ray image courtesy of NASA/Swift