Under a Crimson Sun: Prospects for Life in a Red Dwarf System (Astronomers' Universe)

Under a Crimson Sun: Prospects for Life in a Red Dwarf System (Astronomers' Universe)

David S. Stevenson

Language: English

Pages: 331


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Gliese 581 is a red dwarf star some 20.3 light years from Earth. Red dwarfs are among the most numerous stars in the galaxy, and they sport diverse planetary systems. At magnitude 10, Gliese 581 is visible to amateur observers but does not stand out. So what makes this star so important? It is that professional observers have confirmed that it has at least four planets orbiting it, and in 2009, Planet d was described in the letters of The Astrophysical Journal as “the first confirmed exoplanet that could support Earth-like life.”

Under a Crimson Sun looks at the nature of red dwarf systems such as Gliese as potential homes for life.

Realistically, what are prospects for life on these distant worlds? Could life evolve and survive there? How do these planetary surfaces and geology evolve? How would life on a red dwarf planet differ from life on Earth? And what are the implications for finding further habitable worlds in our galaxy?

Stevenson provides readers with insight into the habitability of planets and how this changes as time progresses and the central star evolves. Explore with him in this engaging, fascinating book the possibilities for finding life, from bacteria to more complex and even intelligent organisms, on red dwarf system planets.

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Forming Ice VII. Thus the bottom of our ocean would be frozen, even if its temperature was above 0 °C. Our aquaplanet might be positively balmy at the surface but be thoroughly frozen in its greatest depths. Below this layer of ice, the water would give way to a rocky crust and mantle atop a metallic core, much like Ganymede. Once again, these worlds seem highly probable and should reveal themselves through the investigative methods described earlier. Within 10 years we should have a catalog of.

Planetary heating is radioactivity. In essence this comes in two flavors – although the distinction is clearly blurred. The majority of radioisotopes in nature have relatively short half-lives – the time it takes half the mass of radioactive element to decay. These short half-lives mean that the energy released when these elements decay is only able to participate in the heating of the earliest stages of planetary formation. Moreover, these isotopes primarily come from supernovae – specifically.

Faster than small ones, with a time span ranging from 100 million years in stars with 2.25 times the mass of the Sun to less than a million years in the most massive stars. The Second Ascension Once helium fusion is over the stellar core is filled with roughly 0.5 solar masses of carbon and oxygen. Helium fusion winds down and becomes con fi ned to a shell surrounding the inert carbonoxygen core. The star may make a brief loop to higher temperatures before the inert core begins to collapse under.

Oceanic crust is pulled downwards into the depths of the planet. This has the effect of dragging the trailing crust along as well. Subduction then becomes irreversible. If one looks around the Pacific Ocean the majority of the basin is fringed by subduction zones. It is no coincidence that the fastest moving crust on Earth is found in the Pacific Basin. The combined pulling power of all those subduction zones is dragging the crust away from the spreading centers where the crust is produced and.

Give an idea of the sensitivity of HIRES and competing instruments, the captured spectra will show variation in the location of spectral bands less than 1/1,000th of a pixel in its CCD array. This sensitivity was improved further with an upgrade in 2003 that allowed HIRES to detect the stellar wobbles caused by Neptune-mass worlds orbiting within the radius of Earth around the Sun. HIRES would later go on to The Discovery of Extraterrestrial Worlds 9 capture evidence for three of the four.

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