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Answers for Authors: What would life be like on a planet orbiting a red dwarf star? (re-posted)

30 Jul 2018, 22:34 UTC
Answers for Authors: What would life be like on a planet orbiting a red dwarf star? (re-posted)
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

A tiny star 40 light years from Earth, called TRAPPIST-1*, made some major waves recently: It has seven planets, all roughly the same size as Earth, all with some chance of habitable conditions. Above: An artists impression of the TRAPPIST-1 solar system.So the question has been asked: If a civilisation were located on one of the TRAPPIST-1 planets, what would be different to our civilisation?Short answer? A lot. Long answer?First lets look at the TRAPPIST-1 star itself. It's an ultra cool red dwarf, the smallest kind of true star** you can get - just 8% the Sun's mass, and barely wider than our planet Jupiter. That gives it a very different look to our Sun: In a nearby planet's sky it would appear orange coloured, and dimmer. Paradoxically, if you're viewing from a habitable world, it would also look slightly bigger as a red dwaf's habitable zone is much closer in than our Sun's. Red dwarfs also suffer from huge star spots, giving it a mottled look- and these come as part of more of a violent side: TRAPPIST-1 spits out powerful particle storms, and a lot of UV and X-ray radiation. Although invisible except to specialised instruments, coronal mass ...

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