- It is an astrographic feature.
- Please see Flare Star (book) for the IISS Traveller publication by the same name.
The majority of flare stars are otherwise normal red main sequence stars that exhibit unusually violent flare activity. The star increases in brightness by up to two magnitudes (...six times brighter) in just a few seconds, and then fades back to its normal brightness in half an hour or less. This change in brightness is caused by the eruption of very large flares from the corona associated with magnetic disturbances in the stellar atmosphere. During a flare event radiation is emitted across virtually the entire EM spectrum.
- Much of the surface of a flare star is pocked with clusters of darker-seeming areas known as sunspots, giving it a mottled appearance. While these spots are very bright, the areas around them are so much brighter that they show as dark regions on imaging of the star.
- Different types of flare stars may emit EM energy at characteristic levels on different parts the EM spectrum, including very high levels of x-rays and gamma rays.
- Flares are accompanied by coronal mass ejections. Vast quantities of superheated plasma erupt from the corona of the star and are twisted into enormous tendrils, streamers and arcs by the intense magnetic fields before falling back to the surface or being carried away by the stellar wind.
- Flare activity is tied to the star's magnetic field and the majority of flares (though not all) erupt from surface regions close to its magnetic poles.
Flares occur sporadically, with successive flares spaced anywhere from an hour to a few days apart. A flare reaches peak brightness very quickly and more than one flare can occur at a time. Flare stars may periodically experience flare storms, during which the frequency and violence of flare activity dramatically increases.
More massive stars are also known to display violent flare activity, but this is most commonly due to disturbances in their magnetic field caused by interactions with binary companions or large, closely orbiting planets such as bigworlds or hot gas giants.
Flare Stars & Worlds
Worlds orbiting a flare star experience particularly large and spectacular aurorae, produced by the massive quantities of charged particles thrown off by the star interacting with the molecules that make up the planets atmosphere.
- Their surfaces and atmospheres may be heavily irradiated.
- The sudden and intense change in the star's brightness may dazzle individuals lacking eye protection.
Dangers to Spacecraft
Proximity to a flare star presents a number of potential dangers.
- Molecules and charged particles (thrown off of the star by flare activity) sleet through the system, inhibiting sensor operations. Sensors may be completely blanketed or may give distorted or erroneous readings.
- The density, momentum and energy of the material forming the flare may create a fast-moving shockwave, capable of inflicting physical damage on spacecraft (possibly including radiation effects).
- Flare stars emit powerful radio signals. These increase in strength in direct correlation with the formation of flares, causing interference with shipboard communications. This typically takes the form of constant loud background static, punctuated with eerie tones, pops, clicks and whistles.
- Radiation levels within the system may be significantly elevated, rising far beyond 400 Rads per hour – a level generally fatal to humans – during peak periods of flare activity.
- The star may emit powerful bursts of intense EM energy, damaging or destroying unprotected electronics and electronic equipment.
A flare star is a variable star. This is a type of star whose observed brightness – its apparent magnitude – fluctuates as seen from a remote observatory, typically light years distant. In the case of flare stars this variation is caused by the change in the stars emitted light, which directly relates to flare activity and coronal mass ejections.
- A flare star is defined as an intrinsic variable – its changes in brightness are caused by internal processes.
- The type are further defined as eruptive variables.
Worlds & Sectors (Astrography)
Flare stars can be found throughout Charted Space:
- They occur in multiple sectors
World Listing: 1105