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Red dwarf planets may be safe from superflares

15 Aug 2021, 10:15 UTC
Red dwarf planets may be safe from superflares
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This is an artist’s illustration of superflares on a red dwarf star. New research shows that such flares may not be as harmful to orbiting planets as first thought. Image via AIP/ J. Fohlmeister/ Phys.org.
Good news for red dwarf planets
Planets orbiting red dwarf stars may not be dead zones after all. Scientists have long thought that superflares on red dwarf stars decimate most of the atmospheres on planets orbiting too close. Intense radiation would pound these worlds, making habitability unlikely. Now, an international team of astronomers announced August 5, 2021, that red dwarf planets may be safe from superflares after all. How? As it turns out, the flares erupt in the opposite direction from the planets.
The researchers published their peer-reviewed findings in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society on August 5, 2021.
Are planets around red dwarfs habitable?
In recent years, many exoplanets have been discovered orbiting red dwarf stars, the most common kind of star in our galaxy. Could some of them be suitable for life? Indeed, a growing number of them have been found in the habitable zone of their stars. That’s exciting, because this region has temperatures that can allow liquid water ...

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