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Evaluate the viability of planets around old red dwarfs



Evaluate the viability of planets around old red dwarfs

Credit: Chandra X-ray Center

A new study using data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope offers new insight into a key question: how can it be inhabited by rotating planets. around the most common star type in the galaxy? The target of the new study, as reported in our press release, is Barnard Star, which is one of the closest stars to Earth at a distance of just six light-years. Barnard̵

7;s Star is a red dwarf, a small star that burns slowly due to its fuel supply and can last much longer than medium-sized stars like our Sun. It is about 10 billion years old, double the age of the Sun.


The authors used Barnard’s Star as a case study to find out how light rays from an old red dwarf could affect any planet orbiting it. The artist’s illustration depicts an aging red dwarf like Barnard’s Star (right) and an orbiting rock planet (left).

The Barnard Star team’s Chandra observations taken in June 2019 detected an X-ray light (shown in the inner box) and their Hubble observations made in March 2019 shows two high energy ultraviolet rays (shown in an additional image). Both observations lasted for about seven hours, and both graphs showed X-ray or ultraviolet luminosity extending down to zero. Based on the length of the rays and observations, the authors conclude. that Barnard’s Star emits destructive light rays about 25% of the time.

The team then looked at what these results mean for rocky planets orbiting the habitable zone – where liquid water could exist on their surface – around a dwarf star. Red as old as Barnard’s Star. Any atmosphere formed early in the life of a habitable planet could have been eroded by the star’s high-energy radiation during its volatile youth. Later, however, a planet’s atmosphere can regenerate as the star becomes less active with age. This regeneration can occur either by the gas released by the action of solid materials or by gases emitted by volcanic processes.

However, the onslaught of powerful explosions such as those reported here, which have been continuing for hundreds of millions of years, could erode any renewable atmospheres on the rocky planets in the region. habitable area. The illustration shows the rocky planet’s atmosphere being swept to the left by the energy radiation from the flares generated by the red dwarf. This will reduce the chances of these worlds supporting life. The team is currently studying high-energy radiation from many other red dwarfs to determine if Barnard’s Star is typical.

Evaluate the viability of planets around old red dwarfs

Imaging Provider: X-ray Light Curve: NASA / CXC / University of Colorado / K. France et al; Curve of UV light: NASA / STScI

An article describing these results, led by Kevin France of the University of Colorado at Boulder, appears in the October 30, 2020 issue of The Astronomical magazine.


The recently discovered planets are not as safe from star explosions as originally thought


More information:
Kevin France et al. High-energy radiant environment around a 10 Gyr dwarf M: Finally viable? arXiv: 2009.01259 [astro-ph.EP] arxiv.org/abs/2009.01259

Provided by Chandra X-ray Center

Quote: Evaluation of the viability of planets around old red dwarfs (2020, October 30) retrieved October 30, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-10- habitability-planets-red-dwarfs.html

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