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X-rays produced by Solar Flares/CMEs

  1. Sep 19, 2016 #1
    Poster's warning: this will be the second time I've touched upon the subject of solar flares here in Physics Forums, for which I offer my apologies. Nevertheless, I seek clarification about the likely effects of what a seriously powerful flare (or CME) would have, either upon an astronaut in space, or anyone living on a relatively exposed planet like Mars. Here, though, I'm not concerned about charged particles as such; rather my main point has to do with X-rays produced by these solar disturbances. I understand that our thick oxygen-rich atmosphere protects us here on Earth from the worst of these electromagnetic discharges. But what about elsewhere - on the surface of Mars, say? My real point is that any X-ray radiation spat out by the Sun would be propagating across the interplanetary medium at light-speed, which is to say that anyone unfortunate enough to be bounding around on the Martian regolith would receive no advance warning whatsoever. Or am I over-egging the problem (i.e. these X-ray discharges are too feeble to be an issue and/or Mars is too distant from the Sun for this to be a genuine cause for concern)?

    Thanks again.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 24, 2016 #2
    Thanks for the thread! This is an automated courtesy bump. Sorry you aren't generating responses at the moment. Do you have any further information, come to any new conclusions or is it possible to reword the post? The more details the better.
     
  4. Sep 25, 2016 #3
    Yes, I did manage to dig this up: http://hesperia.gsfc.nasa.gov/sftheory/spaceweather.htm

    It doesn't exactly address the issue, but it did sort of hint that any x-ray emissions bundled in with solar flares probably wouldn't be an issue for prospective Martian settlers - not at any rate compared to the constant drizzle of cosmic rays the surface of Mars receives on a daily basis. It's all a bit of a shame, however. For the purposes of my writing I desired very much to have a Martian colony caught napping by an X-class super-flare, less so from the high-energy protons: instead somewhat calamitously via a flood of x-rays, for which there would be no advance warning. I could 'big' the thing up, of course, but I'm also trying to preserve the science in science-fiction, at least where possible. Thanks for the 'courtesy bump'.
     
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