Red Dwarfs

Observing stars in Sinai

An artist's impression of a stellar flare exploding on a Red Dwarf

Red Dwarfs may need orbiting satellite telescopes to be viewed, but they are more like our own sun than the colossal stars that make up most of the visible stars.

Of the 375 stars that have been identified by telescopes to be within 33 light years of our sun, most of them are too small to be seen by the naked eye, about 300 of them. Of these, most are Red Dwarfs, less than half the size of our sun and glowing dull red.

But they are still capable of some powerful thermonuclear fireworks. The largest stellar flare every detected came from a fast rotating Red Dwarf in the inconspicuous constellation of Lacerta between Cygnus and Andromeda.

The most celebrated Red Dwarf of all, Gliese 581, 20 light years away in the constellation of Libra has a planetary system, with at least one rocky planet orbiting in the habitable zone where life could emerge.

This blog was first written for the Cairo BCA Magazine to promote star gazing in Sinai.

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