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Tiny Red Dwarf Star More Powerful Than The Sun

First Posted: Nov 19, 2015 04:08 PM EST

Astronomers have discovered a tiny red dwarf star that is super stormy, producing solar flares that are greater than the Sun's solar flares, according to a study at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).

"If we lived around a star like this one...it might be extremely difficult for life to evolve at all in such a stormy environment," Peter Williams, lead author of the study, said in a news release

The researchers made the discovery using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), where they detected emissions at a frequency of 95 GHz. The emissions from this star are 10,000 times brighter than what the Sun produces, and are the highest level of emissions to be found on a red dwarf. The red dwarf star is approximately 35 light-years from the Earth, in the constellation Boites.

In previous studies, researchers found that the star's magnetic field is several hundred times stronger than the Sun. Researchers were surprised that such a small star could have a magnetic field that is greater than the sun.

"It's like living in Tornado Alley in the U.S. Your location puts you at greater risk of severe storms," Williams said. "A planet in the habitable zone of a star like this would be buffeted by storms much stronger than those generated by the Sun."

The findings of this study were published in the Astrophysical Journal.

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