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Can Life Exist on Planets Orbiting Red Dwarf Stars?

There is a story out last month from the American Astronomical Society’s January meeting that a study done by scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope that a young, nearby red dwarf star called AU Microscopii (AU Mic) has a disk that is rapidly eroding because of the presence of fast moving blobs of material.  These blobs of material which may be the result of mass ejections from the turbulent star are said to be driving out small particles, comets and asteroids which may contain water and organic compounds out of the dwarf star’s system leaving any planets without any such material.  It is believed that asteroids and comets deliver such essential life supporting materials to the planets in the star’s system.  These planets would then be lifeless without the essential materials being delivered to them.  At the present rate, it is estimated that in 1.5 million years, the disk around AU Mic will be dissipated.  Keep in mind that this study was done on just one red dwarf star and there are many such stars in the Milky Way galaxy.  In fact, scientists say that around 70 -75% of the stars in our galaxy are red dwarfs.  Perhaps more study needs to be done to see if the situation with the red dwarf star AU Mic is common or not. 

 

  Image Advisories

 

1. South Equatorial Belt Brown Barge Close-up – December 12, 2018 – A color enhanced image taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft on July 15, 2018 showing Jupiter’s South Equatorial belt brown barge.  To see this image, go to the NASA/JPL News release at: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA22941

 

2. Juno Image Gallery shows a variety of great images of the planet Jupiter taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft currently in orbit around the giant planet.  To see these images, go to the Juno Image Gallery website at: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/juno/images/index.html

3 Juno Spacecraft Spots an Eruption on Io – December 31, 2018 – NASA’s Juno spacecraft currently in orbit around Jupiter has imaged a volcanic eruption on the planet’s moon Io.  To see this image from NASA, go to: http://spaceref.com/jupiter/juno-spots-an-eruption-on-io.html

 

4. A Jet Propulsion Laboratory website – JPL Space Images shows many beautiful images of space taken with our spacecraft and telescopes.  To see these images, go to: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/

 

5. A Jet Propulsion Laboratory website showing videos of the planets, etc. may be seen at: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/

 

6. Lagoon Nebula As Seen By Hubble – January 23, 2019 – A Hubble Space Telescope image of the Lagoon Nebula showing a very large young star near the center that is believed to be 200,000 times brighter than our own Sun and is sending out powerful ultraviolet radiation and strong stellar winds.  To see this image, go to: http://spaceref.com/astronomy/lagoon-nebula-as-seen-by-hubble.html