June 1, 2020

Astro-Challenge: Monitoring Luyten’s Flare Star.

Artist’s conception of a flare star in action.

(Credit: NASA).

It’s ironic that the most common type of star also lies hidden from view in the night sky.  Our Sun and others like it make up a paltry ~20% of the fusion-burning stellar engines in the Milky Way; the vast majority of stars are red dwarfs with less than %50 the mass of our Sun. And although Alpha Centauri’s C companion Proxima lies just over 4 light years distant, not a single red dwarf is visible to the naked eye. We’ve written about other red dwarfs in the range of a backyard telescope, such as Groombridge 34 & Omicron Eridani; this week, we’d like to turn your attention to a curious specimen in the constellation Cetus.

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