"ASTRONOMERS HAVE DISCOVERED the closest known infant star to our planet, and it wasn't born until 25 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs!!"
"The star, called AP Columbae, is closer to Earth than previously thought and is around 40 million years old - a stellar newborn when compared to our own Sun which was created 4.6 billion years ago."
To read the entire article which the above quote was taken from please click on the following link:
"The star has been known about and studied for the past 15 years, but it wasn't realised it was so young and so close, until now," says co-author Simon Murphy, a PhD student from the Australian National University in Canberra."
Isn't it amazing that scientists have know about this star for 15 years and only recently understood how close AP Columbae is to the Earth!
To learn more about AP Columbae please visit these websites:
Apparently AP Columbae is a red-dwarf star."A red dwarf (star) is a small, cool, very faint, main sequence star whose surface temperature is under about 4,000 K. Red dwarfs are the most common type of star." (source:http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/astronomy/stars/startypes.shtml )
"In addition, they burn faintly and slowly compared with a more massive star like the sun. The 4.6 billion years it took for life to evolve on Earth would amount to barely a blip on a red dwarf's time line – measured in trillions of years. The sun's estimated life time? About 10 billion years."
"But a red dwarf's faintness also represents a potential Achilles' heel for habitable planets. A red dwarf's habitable zone is very close to the star, by some estimates between 10 million and 33 million miles out. (By contrast, the sun is 93 million miles from Earth.) And a red dwarf's habitable zone is narrow, perhaps only 400,000 to 4 million miles wide, depending on the mass of the star. The habitable zone in our solar system spans roughly 37 million miles."
"Some astronomers have argued that, among other downsides, a planet in a red dwarf's habitable zone would be vulnerable to massive flares and other outbursts from the star, bombarding it with high-energy particles, X-rays, and ultraviolet radiation at levels that would disrupt biological activity on Earth's surface."
Until now, however, many thought such activity occurred only for the first 1 billion or 2 billion years of a red dwarf's existence. Thus, if an Earth-mass planet formed beyond the reach of the flares, and migrated inward with time, the planet could take up its final position in the habitable zone after the young star calmed down."
"But the stars the team studied were some 10 billion years old, suggesting that energetic flaring continues, even if less frequently." (Source:http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2011/0111/Red-dwarf-star-systems-Promising-for-life-but-watch-the-apocalyptic-flares/%28page%29/2 )
"Stars live out the majority of their lives in a phase termed as the Main Sequence. Once achieving nuclear fusion, stars radiate (shine) energy into space. The star slowly contracts over billions of years to compensate for the heat and light energy lost. As this slow contraction continues, the star’s temperature, density, and pressure at the core continue to increase. The temperature at the center of the star slowly rises over time because the star radiates away energy, but it is also slowly contracting. This battle between gravity pulling in and gas pressure pushing out will go on over the entire life span of the star." (source: http://aspire.cosmic-ray.org/labs/star_life/starlife_sequence.html )
To learn about the life of a small star I recommend you visit this website:
What a fascinating and interesting discovery!!
To learn more about Red Dwarf stars please watch the following video I found on Youtube. A big thank you to Tony Darnell for alowing me to use his video on my Blog!!