Scientists discover a dim dwarf with more power than the Sun after using the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array, also known as the ALMA telescope to locate the star. The dwarf star has a magnetic field as powerful as the Sun’s but it is also producing massive solar eruptions that cause it to send out bursts of magnetism into space.
- Scientists have discovered a dwarf star that has as much energy as the Sun does.
- The magnetic field the star generates is unusual for red dwarf stars.
- The study of these stars is important in the search for habitable planets outside of our own solar system.
These flares cause magnetic fields to intertwine tightly around the star and to create a natural particle generator because the fields make electrons change their paths and emit radio signals. It was these radio signals that the star emits through its electrons that helped the team discover the dwarf, as the ALMA telescope picked up on the signals and located the star using them.
Luckily for Earth, the Sun does not produce such massive flares. If it did, the radiation caused by the phenomenon would severely disrupt the technology that we have on Earth, including the satellites that orbit the planet. Such flares could also damage electronic devices we use every day.
A study documenting the findings was recently published on Phys.org and the head author of the research, Peter Williams of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, has explained that while the dwarf star has impressive power, it is unlikely that any forms of life would exist on the planets and stars surrounding it because the conditions it creates would make it difficult for life to evolve in an environment that is so stormy and dangerous.
The dwarf star has impressive amounts of energy especially if you consider how small it is. The team used the ALMA telescope to study it and calculated that its mass is only 10 percent of the Sun’s mass. Besides emanating massive amounts of energy, the red dwarf is also spinning very fast. Keeping in mind that our own Sun takes roughly 25 days to complete a full rotation at its equator, the dwarf has considerably more speed, as it manages to complete a full rotation in only about 2 hours.
The interesting thing, according to scientists, is that the process that generates the Sun’s magnetic field is also what seems to be responsible for the dwarf’s magnetic field. This is puzzling because this physical process shouldn’t take place in such a small star.
Red dwarfs such as this one are the most common stars in in our Galaxy and the discovery of this red dwarf, known as TVLM 513-46546, is an important step in the search for habitable planets outside our solar system.
Image source: https://pixabay.com