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Red dwarfs may be more hazardous to one's health than previously thought

Posted On: 31 Oct 2020   |   Posted By: Astronomy Now

Red dwarfs may be more hazardous to one's health than previously thought

An artist's impression of a red dwarf blasting a nearby planet with high-energy flares. Image: X-ray light curve: NASA/CXC/University of Colorado/K. France et al.; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss)
Small red dwarf stars, the most common in the Milky Way, may be more inhospitable than previously thought, thanks to periodic blasts of high-energy ultraviolet and X-ray emissions that could erode the atmospheres or otherwise roast any nearby planets, a new study concludes.
“It may turn out that most red dwarfs are hostile to life,” said Tommi Koskinen of the University of Arizona and co-author of a new analysis in The Astronomical Journal. “In that case the conclusion might be that planets around more massive stars, like our own Sun, might be the optimal location to search for inhabited worlds with the next generation of telescopes.”
Using NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers focused on Barnard's Star, a 10-billion-year-old red dwarf with 16 percent the mass of the Sun...

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