Red Dwarf GJ 887 Intrigues Astronomers: New Activity Recorded

Astronomers Thought They'd Found a 'Calm' Red Dwarf 11 Light-Years Away

The M-type red dwarf stars are now a focus of exoplanet research. They seem to be the most likely place where Earth-like planets can be spotted orbiting within the star’s habitable zone (HZ).

GJ 887 is a bright M star that has a system of two (or three) planets. This star was believed to be quiet and stable, but a recent investigation recorded quite the activity. Here is what you need to know. 

A Reckless Red Dwarf Star Reexamined: New Details and Features Unveiled

For the recent study, a team of researchers examined archival data from the Hubble Space Telescope. The findings are truly incredible. 

Red dwarf star, GJ 887, flared on an hourly basis, which contradicted initial findings realized using data from NASA’s TESS (the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite), that showed no detectable flares for 27 days of permanent observation. The team explained that the discovery was possible thanks to Hubble’s UV observations.

“A star’s ultraviolet emission is really critical, albeit still missing, puzzle piece to our understanding of planet atmospheres and their habitability,” explained Evgenya L. Shkolnik, the leader of the SESE (the School of Earth and Space Exploration). 

But, as great as the findings might be, they’re also discouraging because they prove once again that red dwarf stars tend to blast their planets with harmful radiation. But along with their way of hosting rocky bodies, such as Proxima b or TRAPPIST-1’s seven planet-system, such a thing had made them an essential part of humanity’s quest for habitable exoplanets. Proxima b might have a stable climate and life on its surface, but scientists still need more time to examine such a thing. 

The recent study and results will allow scientists to observe flares coming from M-type stars and determine their intensity and frequency. They will be able, too, to offer insights into the chances life might have to occur on their exoplanets. 

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