Speed Reads

space stuff

NASA satellite captures red dwarf 'superflare' 60 light years away

NASA satellite captures red dwarf 'superflare' 60 light years away

The latest "superflare" isn't a return of 1970s-era denim trends — NASA's Swift satellite has captured stunning images of a red dwarf star that's 60 light years away.

NASA reports that on April 23, the satellite observed "the strongest, hottest, and longest-lasting sequence of stellar flares ever seen" from a red dwarf star. On Tuesday, NASA released a video of the Swift satellite's detection, and the flare is breathtaking.

The initial blast from the red dwarf was as much as 10,000 times more powerful than the largest solar blast that had been previously recorded, according to NASA. The superflare reached more than 360 million degrees Fahrenheit, which is more than 12 times hotter than the sun's center. After the initial blast on April 23, the Swift satellite observed smaller blasts over the next 11 days, and the star "took a total of 20 days to settle back to its normal level of X-ray emission," notes Phys.org.

"We used to think major flaring episodes from red dwarfs lasted no more than a day, but Swift detected at least seven powerful eruptions over a period of about two weeks," Stephen Drake, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a statement. "This was a very complex event." Check out the incredible superflare in the video below. --Meghan DeMaria