What is the importance of stellar X-ray flares to astrophysics, or even more, to the world at large? In the case of the Sun, changes in solar activity at the two temporal extremes can have quite significant consequences. Long-term changes in solar activity, such as the Maunder Minimum, can apparently lead to non-negligible alterations of the earth’s climate. The extreme short term changes are solar flares, the most energetic of which can cause communications disruptions, power outages and ionizing radiation levels amounting to medical X-ray dosages on long commercial flights and even potentially lethal exposures for unshielded astronauts (Haisch, Strong and Rodonò 1991). Why does the Sun exhibit such behaviour? Even if we had a detailed knowledge of the relevant physical processes on the Sun — which we may be on the way to having in hand as evidenced by these Proceedings — our understanding would remain incomplete in regard to fundamental causation so long as we could not say whether the Sun is, in this respect, unique among the stars.


Solar Flare Coronal Heating Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Hybrid Star First Ionization Potential 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Haisch
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. 91-30, Bldg. 252Lockheed Solar and Astrophysics LaboratoryPalo AltoUSA

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