Habitability Around Aging Red Dwarfs
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Text, News From The Universe. November 5, 2020.
Habitability Around Aging Red Dwarfs. November 5, 2020. Illustration credit NASA, ESA slash G, Bacon S T S cl.
Image of a red dwarf star and orbiting planet.
Text, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Telescope have new data on Barnard's Star, a nearby aging red dwarf with one planet.
Red Dwarfs are known for strong flares that can strip the atmosphere from orbiting planets.
Astronomers looked to see if Barnard's Star had grown calm enough with age to allow a planetary atmosphere to regenerate. The answer was no.
Chandra and Hubble detected occasional but strong flares of X-ray and ultraviolet radiation.
Image of sun flares which blow atmosphere off of a planet.
Text, The planet closely orbiting Barnard's Star would likely be unable to retain an atmosphere while buffeted by the harsh flares.
It is possible planets could maintain an atmosphere at a farther distance from red dwarf stars, beyond the traditional "habitable" orbital zone.
This news was brought to you in part by the Chandra X-ray Center, Cambridge, MA.