A Review of Stellar Flares and their Characteristics

  • B. R. Pettersen
Conference paper


We review the flaring activity of stars across the HR-diagram. Brightenings have been reported along the entire Main Sequence and in many stars off the Main Sequence. Some stars are decidedly young, others are in advanced stages of stellar evolution. Flares are common on stars with outer convection zones and outbursts have been reported also on other types of stars, although confirmations are needed for some of them.

Analyses of flare occurrence sometimes find flares to be randomly distributed in time, and sometimes indicate a tendency for flares to come in groups. Preferred active longitudes have been suggested. Recent solar results, where the occurrence rate for flares is found to exhibit a periodicity of 152 days, suggest that stellar flare data should be reanalyzed over long time baselines to see if the present confusing situation can be resolved.

The radiation from stellar flares is dominated by continuum emission and about equal amounts of energy have been recorded in the optical, UV, and X-ray regions of the spectrum. In solar flares strong continuum emission is rarely recorded and a large collection of bright emission lines takes prominence. Small flares occur more frequently than large ones and the latter have longer time-scales. Flare energies can exceed 1037 erg. The most productive flare stars are those where the convective envelopes occupy large volumes. Slow stellar rotation rates are believed to reduce the level when the star has been braked significantly from its young rotation rate.


Convection Zone Main Sequence Host Star Flare Activity Convective Envelope 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. R. Pettersen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Theoretical AstrophysicsUniversity of OsloOslo 3Norway

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