This was recently reported at PhysOrg: Proxima Centauri’s no good, very bad day. They say:
A team of astronomers led by Carnegie’s Meredith MacGregor and Alycia Weinberger detected a massive stellar flare — an energetic explosion of radiation — from the closest star to our own Sun, Proxima Centauri, which occurred last March. … At peak luminosity it was 10 times brighter than our Sun’s largest flares when observed at similar wavelengths. … The flare increased Proxima Centauri’s brightness by 1,000 times over 10 seconds.
“It’s likely that Proxima b was blasted by high energy radiation during this flare,” MacGregor explained, adding that it was already known that Proxima Centauri experienced regular, although smaller, x-ray flares. “Over the billions of years since Proxima b formed, flares like this one could have evaporated any atmosphere or ocean and sterilized the surface, suggesting that habitability may involve more than just being the right distance from the host star to have liquid water.”
The creationists have leaped upon this. Look what just popped up at the website of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom Their title is Stellar Superflare Reminder: Our Sun Is Special . It was written by Jake Hebert. This is ICR’s bio page on Jake. They say he received his Ph.D. in 2011 from the University of Texas and then — the same year! — he “joined ICR in 2011 as a research associate.” Jake’s entire working career has been at ICR. Here are some excerpts from his post, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Astronomers recently detected an enormous but short-lived increase in radiation from the nearby star Proxima Centauri. … Proxima Centauri is of particular interest because, excluding the sun, it is the star nearest to Earth (about 4.3 light-years away) and because an exoplanet, designated as Proxima b, has been detected orbiting the star.
Creationists are especially thrilled by this news, because it’s been previously thought that Proxima Centauri Has Planet in Habitable Zone. Jake says:
Needless to say, if our own sun were to emit such a superflare, the results on Earth would be devastating. Yet, the sun has not done this, despite the fact that evolutionary scientists have long insisted that our sun is just another mediocre, run-of-the-mill star. Despite this popular myth, secular scientists are themselves now acknowledging that our sun is special. One of the reasons for this realization is the fact that our sun does not emit monster superflares like the one just detected on Proxima Centauri.
After that he tells us:
Secular scientists have to assume that the sun’s remarkable stability is just an amazingly fortuitous coincidence, for which they credit “nature” or “luck” … .
Here comes the creationism:
But for those who acknowledge the Lord’s handiwork (Genesis 1:14-18, Psalm 19:1), neither our sun’s existence nor its remarkable stability is baffling or puzzling. Our sun exists and is stable because God designed it this way, so that Earth would be inhabitable [scripture reference]:
The rest of Jake’s post is a scripture quote. And there you have it. Just when you — you foolish evolutionist — thought there was a nearby habitable planet, it turns out that you were wrong. And the creationists have been right all along.
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