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Normal Stars

If solar flares were more powerful or frequent the climate could be severely affected, as would the ozone layer which protects us from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. Life as we know it could become difficult if not impossible. Presently there is not enough evidence to determine if such changes are likely. X-ray observations of a large number of stars similar to the Sun are essential for understanding the long term behavior of the Sun, and consequently, the long-term weather forecast for Earth.

Certain stars, called flare stars, have surfaces that are in a constant state of turmoil. These stars flare almost continually and the flares are a hundred or more times more powerful than solar flares. Flare stars are less than half as massive as the Sun. Because of their small masses, their interiors are much more turbulent and they are rotating more rapidly. This combination of turbulence and rotation produces large, severely twisted magnetic regions, which lead to large flares.


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