Scientists at NASA have found that solar flares from host stars might make the planets inhabitable. It is indeed an important discovery. They have used the Hubble’s telescope which led to this discovery. But, does that mean our planet is in danger? Well, it is debatable as the discovery revolves around the young stars. Or as they have mentioned, it is about the red dwarf stars.
A red dwarf star is also called M dwarf. It is a smaller and cooler star on the main sequence. They have a mass of about 0.075-0.50 solar mass which can hold up to 4 to 5 planets in their orbits. These are the most common type of stars available in the Milky Way galaxy, in the neighborhood of the Sun. Exo-planets orbit around the red dwarf. Although the relative size of the planets is less than Jupiter, the solar flares results in creating problems.
According to NASA, the young stars emit flares more frequently and energetically since they are young. The findings are based on the frequency of 12 red dwarfs and the study published in the Astrophysical Journal.
Back in July, NASA had developed a warmth shield that helped the solar probe to orbit around the sun. The basic function of the warmth shield was to protect the probe from the harmful and dangerous solar flares. And on August 12, 2018, NASA launched the solar probe into the space. The mission proves to be pretty essential and a stepping stone towards the future of humanity.
What does the Solar Flares Study indicate?
M-dwarf is the astronomical term for the longest living and abundantly found stars. The study penetrates into the effect of solar storms on the planets orbiting the red dwarf. The objectives also include the habitability report of the planets.
Astronomers have initiated a program called HAZMAT for the study. HAZMAT is the acronym for Habitable Zones and M dwarf Activity across Time. The program is an ultraviolet survey of red dwarfs at three different ages. These are in fact young, intermediate, and old. Furthermore, the program uses other tools to determine the root of the violent solar flares.
The study finds that the magnetic turmoil at the core and surface of the stellar body is responsible for the flares. The intense magnetic tangling breaks the field. However, due to polar adherence the field reconnect back and unleashes a great deal of energy. Hubble’s ultraviolet sensitivity has led to the promising case of the study. Scientists also believe that the red dwarfs are abundant in nature. But, the solar flares are the possible reason that the habitable zones are not easy to find.
What are habitable zones?
Astronomy is indeed very interesting. The scientists have been trying to discover other planets to make habitats. But, the studies have not yet produced any substantial evidence of any other circumstellar habitable zone. A habitable zone is the range of orbits around a star where a planet can support life. Also, the surface should support liquid water and sufficient atmospheric pressure. Most of all, the Goldilocks zone is still a concept which the scientists have been thriving to produce evidence that can sustain life on the planets.
The latest studies have although found that the violent solar flares from the young M-dwarfs have a red hot zone which can burn the surface of its orbiting planets. However, a deep research can alter the paradigm. The advancement in technology will obviously at some point of time can lead to the discovery of other exo-planets.
Astronomers also believe that with time passing by young terrestrial planets will be formed. And they will have the sufficient conditions for existence of life. In fact, the nearest star is Proxima Centauri. And it has an earth-sized planet in its habitable zone.