Recent studies have focused on the properties offlares in solar-like stars. They are usually measured bythe amount of energy deposited in the upper atmosphere(equivalent to the bolometric luminosity). Flares on someearly-type stars were found to be several times lessener than on the Sun (e.g. Collier Cameron et al. 1994).On the other hand, flares of similar energies tothose observed on the Sun are common on some late-typestars (e.g. Torres et al. 2003). The fraction ofstars with flares is higher among intermediate tolate-type stars than in earlier type stars. This suggeststhat the fraction of late-type stars with flaresincreases with age, and that it is largely independent ofmass. The power-law distribution of solar flares isobservable even in the solar-like activity of late-typestars. Of course, the same result does not exclude theexistence of other activity mechanisms on solar-like stars.In particular, some authors suggest the existence of a regimeof saturation in which the activity of these stars approachesa constant value (e.g. Vilhu 1984). In this section we will notdiscuss the issue of saturation. Instead, we will focuson the flare frequency distribution (FFD) (i.e. thedistribution of the number of flares produced in thecorona over time) as well as their characteristic energy.We will present the latest results about the properties offlares in solar-like stars and compare them to those foundin the Sun. Finally, we will provide a brief discussionabout the effects that stellar flares have in the upperatmosphere of late-type stars.
Solar flares are thought to be caused by reconnection ofthe large-scale magnetic field lines that areconfined in a relatively small volume of the lowercorona. Every change in the magnetic field configuration,i.e. by the process of magnetic reconnection, isaccompanied by energy release. The energyreleased by each flare is distributed over a broadfrequency range in the solar corona.
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