As per the title, is there anything with near future tech, unlimited budget and fast cheap spaceflight that could be done to induce a huge solar storm or flare three or more magnitudes greater than any we have seen in the last 150+ years we have known about them.?

Also open to external non man-made reasons for this storm.

Magnetic reconnection is thought to be the cause at this link, so perhaps there is a way to manipulate this or some magnetised body of matter crashing into the sun disrupting magnetic flows to achieve this by accident or design.

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    $\begingroup$ Solar storms of that magnitude by themselves are likely to happen at any time. The Sun's own natural processes will do that. Suggest you look up the Carrington event in 1859. That was caused by cornal mass ejection (CME) and a Carrington-class CME missed the Earth in 2014. They're rare but they do happen. $\endgroup$ – a4android May 8 '17 at 12:27
  • $\begingroup$ @a4android Yes I know about it, I'm thinking three or more times the size of the 2014 one, possibly even hitting Venus full force and stripping some of it's atmosphere. $\endgroup$ – Kilisi May 8 '17 at 12:30
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    $\begingroup$ I read recently there is a flare star that produces CMEs with one hundred thousand times the strength of the Carrington event on a regular basis. There is the probability a three or four times Carrington-class CME will occur. if you want it to happen, just make it so and have done with it. $\endgroup$ – a4android May 8 '17 at 12:42
  • $\begingroup$ @a4android Should make that an answer, a rare natural event fits the question $\endgroup$ – Kilisi May 8 '17 at 12:46
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for accepting my answer and especially for suggesting turning my comment into an answer. There was plenty of competition from the other answers. $\endgroup$ – a4android May 10 '17 at 10:50

This answer will assume that the huge solar storm sought by the OP can be obtained through natural processes. The most probable candidate for giant solar storms are coronal mass ejections.

Coronal mass ejections release huge quantities of matter and electromagnetic radiation into space above the Sun's surface, either near the corona (sometimes called a solar prominence), or farther into the planetary system, or beyond (interplanetary CME). The ejected material is a plasma consisting primarily of electrons and protons. While solar flares are very fast, CMEs are relatively slow.

CMEs occur frequently and carry a reasonable amount of mass at quite high velocities. Although there is a wide range of velocities for CMEs.

Coronal mass ejections reach velocities from 20 to 3,200 km/s (12 to 1,988 mi/s) with an average speed of 489 km/s (304 mi/s), based on SOHO/LASCO measurements between 1996 and 2003. These speeds correspond to transit times from the Sun out to the mean radius of Earth's orbit of about 13 hours to 86 days (extremes), with about 3.5 days as the average. The average mass ejected is 1.6×1012 kg (3.5×1012 lb). However, the estimated mass values for CMEs are only lower limits, because coronagraph measurements provide only two-dimensional data. The frequency of ejections depends on the phase of the solar cycle: from about one every fifth day near the solar minimum to 3.5 per day near the solar maximum.

The destructive power of CMEs can be gauged from understanding what happened with the first discovery of CMEs in 1859. This is also known as the Carrington Event.

The largest recorded geomagnetic perturbation, resulting presumably from a CME, coincided with the first-observed solar flare on 1 September 1859, and is now referred to as the Carrington Event, or the solar storm of 1859. The flare and the associated sunspots were visible to the naked eye (both as the flare itself appearing on a projection of the Sun on a screen and as an aggregate brightening of the solar disc), and the flare was independently observed by English astronomers R. C. Carrington and R. Hodgson. The geomagnetic storm was observed with the recording magnetograph at Kew Gardens. The same instrument recorded a crochet, an instantaneous perturbation of Earth's ionosphere by ionizing soft X-rays. This could not easily be understood at the time because it predated the discovery of X-rays by Röntgen and the recognition of the ionosphere by Kennelly and Heaviside. The storm took down parts of the recently created US telegraph network, starting fires and shocking some telegraph operators.

Apparently during the Carrington Event the telegraph network could also work without needing to be powered up.

A Carrington-class CME missed hitting the Earth in 2014. Now the first CME to be detected as such was in 1971. While we know there were Carrington-class CMEs in 1859 and 2014, this suggests there might have been other Carrington-class CMEs which, like the 2014 event, may have missed the Earth.

Extrapolating from this data, it is possible to assume that Carrington-class CMEs occur with a frequency of approximately one hundred and sixty years. However, this might be increased to a frequency of approximately of, say, seventy-five years (this assumes there was an undetected Carrington CME somewhere between 1859 and 2104). Although the Carrington frequency of 160 years is our best estimate based on known data (this is the most conservative manner for making an estimate).

Considering that CMEs are frequent, varying from one every 3.5 days to once per five days, and if Carrington-class CMEs happen on average once in 160 years, to extrapolate to CMEs with magnitudes two to three orders of magnitude greater than Carrington-class CME this will be the result of blind chance itself.

Such super-Carrington-class CMEs can be CMEs that occur with a lower probability. For example, a super-Carrington-class CME that is three orders of magnitude could occur once in a million years. Certainly CMEs display considerable variability and this variability does not exclude the possibility and the probability that there will be super-Carrington-class CMEs.

This information about recent CME events indicates that CMEs could easily generate massive solar storms.

On 1 August 2010, during solar cycle 24, scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) observed a series of four large CMEs emanating from the Earth-facing hemisphere of the Sun. The initial CME was generated by an eruption on 1 August that was associated with NOAA Active Region 1092, which was large enough to be seen without the aid of a solar telescope. The event produced significant aurorae on Earth three days later.

On 23 July 2012, a massive, and potentially damaging, solar superstorm (solar flare, CME, solar EMP) barely missed Earth, according to NASA.[24][25] There is an estimated 12% chance of a similar event hitting Earth between 2012 and 2022.

On 31 August 2012 a CME connected with Earth's magnetic environment, or magnetosphere, with a glancing blow causing aurora to appear on the night of 3 September.[26][27] Geomagnetic storming reached the G2 (Kp=6) level on NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center scale of geomagnetic disturbances.

All of this suggests that CMEs are a more than probable source of huge solar storms. Since low probability events are happening all the time, so say the statisticians, then low probability events like Super-Carrington-class CMEs can happen and will happen.

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, there could have been others in the last 100 years that happened on the far side of the Sun from us so weren't seen. $\endgroup$ – Kilisi May 9 '17 at 11:53
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    $\begingroup$ @Kilisi That's right, but it is imponderable when we don't have the data. part of my answer hinted that other Carrington CMEs could have occurred unseen between 1859 and 2014. if you allow for 1 in a million year events, this can be spun to once in ten million, once in a hundred million CMEs. There may be a maximum possible CME the Sun can produce, but we don't have the knowledge for that, which leaves guesswork $\endgroup$ – a4android May 9 '17 at 12:02
  • $\begingroup$ yeah 'almost' impossible events happen all the time :-) $\endgroup$ – Kilisi May 9 '17 at 12:14
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    $\begingroup$ @Kilisi Precisely. I'm still waiting to see a table levitate itself by thermal motion of its atoms all moving in the same direction. It will probably be a long wait. $\endgroup$ – a4android May 9 '17 at 12:16

This could be a by product of poor controlled star-lifting. The easiest way would be to artificially heat a portion of the sun with for example microwave beams. Alternatively magnetic fields could be used directly to increase the solar wind outflow.

In this system the ring of particle accelerators would not be in orbit, instead depending on the outward force of the magnetic field itself for support against the star's gravity. To inject energy into the star's atmosphere the ring current would first be temporarily shut down, allowing the particle accelerator stations to begin falling freely toward the star's surface.

Once the stations had developed sufficient inward velocity the ring current would be reactivated and the resulting magnetic field would be used to reverse the stations' fall. This would "squeeze" the star, propelling stellar atmosphere through the polar magnetic nozzles. The ring current would be shut down again before the ring stations achieved enough outward velocity to throw them too far away from the star, and the star's gravity would be allowed to pull them back inward to repeat the cycle.

Either techniques could be could be considered relatively near future except in scale.

  • $\begingroup$ Nice, perhaps not even the whole lot, just induce thermal-driven outflow (from your link) to create a sustained flare in one location. If I can scale it up enough, there is my flare I need,,, I like this idea $\endgroup$ – Kilisi May 8 '17 at 12:42
  • $\begingroup$ Video with animations of the processes. youtube.com/watch?v=pzuHxL5FD5U $\endgroup$ – Mormacil May 8 '17 at 12:48
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    $\begingroup$ Expensive data: Where? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 8 '17 at 13:00
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    $\begingroup$ @JDługosz Kilisi's profile says Polynesia $\endgroup$ – a CVn May 8 '17 at 13:02
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    $\begingroup$ It's expensive compared to my place. $15/unlimited 2mbps $\endgroup$ – Mormacil May 8 '17 at 21:14

In the book Bowl of Heaven/Ship Star by Niven and Benford, a mirrored hemisphere is used to make the star eject material and become a rocket! It simply heats the surface on one side by reflecting the sunlight back.

A way of manipulating magnetic fields might work with some handwaving. Have a wire grid surrounding the sun like a ring — much cheaper than a solid device! You can’t generate a strong enough magnetic field to coax it out of the sun, directly. So work using subtly. Using monitoring and modeling of the fields inside the sun, apply a little power to coax some natural feature to shift a little. Pump it up with repeated blows, like a child on a swing, hitting the natural resonance of that system. Eventually, you coax a large limb of the field outside the body of the sun, much larger than normal common events. Then the same device is used to “fire” it, producing a flare.

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting concept, wouldn't have thought of a wire grid, thats a lot of wire, but plenty of solar power to harness $\endgroup$ – Kilisi May 8 '17 at 12:32
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    $\begingroup$ Cheaper in bulk! $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 8 '17 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ Ok I got my head around this, will see if anything else comes in before accepting, but this looks workable because I control the size and general direction $\endgroup$ – Kilisi May 8 '17 at 12:34
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    $\begingroup$ In general, wait at least 24 hours before accepting. Someone in another timezone may have a great idea! $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 8 '17 at 12:37
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    $\begingroup$ @EnigmaMaitreya no, that’s in a prepared media. You want to drop a wire (pipe?) into the sun such that the length is insulated against magnetism (some superconductive metamaterial perhaps)? That’s actually a good idea for an answer, if tapping the magnetism in this way could have the desired effect. Anyway, rewording the description helps cut through the hype. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 8 '17 at 13:16

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