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The mature sun may still be prone to temper tantrums. A new study suggests that older stars like the sun can produce superflares — huge bursts of energy visible across hundreds of light-years.

Superflares used to be thought of as a younger-star phenomenon, researchers said in a statement about the new study, but the new work suggests it can happen on the sun at rare intervals, of perhaps once every few thousand years. (The sun is about 4.6 billion years old and midway through its lifetime.)

The sun is hard to predict on even a daily basis, so it's difficult to say when a superflare would occur. However, the new work's lead author, Yuta Notsu — a visiting researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder — said this possibility should inspire everyone to beef up electronics against radiation.

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Category: Science