Encyclopedia > Red dwarf

  Article Content

Red dwarf

A red dwarf is a small star on the main sequence, either late K or M spectral type. They have a diameter and mass of less than one-third that of the Sun (down to 0.08 solar masses, which are Brown dwarves) and a surface temperature of less than 3,500 K. They emit little light, sometimes as little as 1/10,000th that of the sun. Due to the slow rate at which they burn hydrogen red dwarves have a enormous lifespan, estimates range from a tens of billions up to trillions of years. Red dwarves never initiate helium fusion and so cannot become red giants, the stars slowly contract and heat up until all the hydrogen is consumed. In any event, there has not been sufficient time since the big bang for red dwarfs to evolve off the main sequence.

Red dwarf stars are believed to be the most common star type in the universe. Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Sun is a red dwarf, (Type M5, magnitude 11.0) as are twenty of the next thirty nearest.

See also: Stellar evolution, Cataclysmic variable star, Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, Yerkes luminosity classification[?].

There is also a British science fiction/comedy television series called Red Dwarf.

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article
Mythical creature

... or the unicorn have their origin in traditional myth and have at one time been believed to be real creatures. Others were based on real creatures, originating in ...