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Exoplanets Revolving Around Red Dwarfs May Be Habitable, Finds Study

Image for representation. Digitally generated photograph of the dwarf planet Makemake. Credits: Getty Images via Canva.

Image for representation. Digitally generated photograph of the dwarf planet Makemake. Credits: Getty Images via Canva.

Due to the fast spin that red dwarfs possess, they give off a massive amount of radiation.

Sometimes it boggles the mind to think that we might be the only living creature in this unending abyss. However, according to a new study, the possibility of that being untrue might exist, and the space may contain other habitable planets. Red dwarfs are stars that occupy a major chunk of stars in the galaxy and are considered to be smaller and a lot cooler than the sun. Along with it, they tend to spin faster and much more actively. Generally, planets tend to revolve around a star (Our sun is also a star). This implies that the red dwarf must also have exoplanets revolving around it.

Due to the fast spin that red dwarfs possess, they give off a massive amount of radiation that makes the existence of any planet around them unfeasible. Countering this phenomenon, the study found that even though the stars exude tremendous radiations, they tend to do so in flares directed either upwards or downwards. Flares are short blasts of radiation fired off from the stars.

Since most planets have the tendency to revolve in the vicinity of stars’ equators, the planets revolving around the red dwarfs might survive the colossal stellar radiations. Ekaterina Ilin, the primary author of the study, told Newsweek, “The results hint that the exoplanets around red dwarf may be more habitable than we initially thought them to be.”

Ekaterina and her team observed four prime targets out of the 3000 red dwarfs that were initially marked using the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) data. The results surfaced after the team analyzed white-light flares on fast-rotating stars and observing the latitudes of the flares. They found that the flares shot beyond 55 degrees latitude, which is much closer to the poles of the star than the equator.

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first published:August 17, 2021, 14:48 IST