The first report on the weather of the closest star to Earth

The outlook became darker, as the discovery of the new red dwarf gave us evidence that it might release mass projectiles similar to what the sun ejects, as massive amounts of ionized plasma and electromagnetic radiation are released into space, and those projectiles are much larger than the detected flares.


"Astronomers have discovered two rocky, Earth-like planets around the red dwarf, one of them located in the habitable zone where liquid water can be found," said astronomer Andrew Zick of the University of Sydney in Australia.


He added: “Proxima Centauri is a small and cold red dwarf star, which means that the habitable area is very close to it, even closer to the planet Mercury to the sun, which makes the planets not immune to the danger of ionizing radiation that can affect the planets greatly.”


He added: “Proxima Centauri is the closest neighbor to Earth, as it is only 4.2 light years away, and the discovery of a rocky planet in 2016 in the habitable zone around the star - that is, close so that the water on the surface does not freeze and at the same time is not very close to the point of evaporation - has revived hopes of finding On extraterrestrial life and in a place not too far from it. '


Although red dwarfs are small and cold stars, they are violent monsters that strike and affect their surroundings by strong and frequent stellar flares, which scientists consider bad news for the possibility of life around them, but the real problem is not the flares themselves, but the very strong emissions associated with coronal mass ejection (CMEs), Often two types of solar flares are associated with the most intense flares with coronal mass emissions, while solar flares can disrupt radio communications; Coronal mass explosions can cause real problems like disrupting power grids, but we at Earth are relatively shielded.


Our Sun regularly releases hot clouds of ionized particles during coronal mass ejection, but since the Sun is hotter than Proxima Centauri and other red dwarf stars; Our habitable area is far from the surface of the sun, which means that the Earth is relatively far from these events.


In addition, Earth has a very strong planetary magnetic field that protects us from these intense explosions of solar plasma, and planets orbiting red dwarf stars may not be envied in their proximity, as their surrounding magnetic field is not completely protected.


Although we see many red dwarf glows, evidence of coronal mass shells resulting from them is scarce, and candidate behavior that resembles the specific coronal mass emission behavior in these stars, such as long-term X-ray absorption or variable blue streaks resulting from only flares.


In the solar system when the sun emits a coronal mass ejection; Often firing at the same time radio bursts (not to be confused with fast radio bursts), these low-frequency solar radio bursts are the result of various particle acceleration processes associated with coronal mass emission (the relationship between frequency and wavelengths is inversely related).


Prior to Zeke's team, astronomers had not detected radio explosions caused by red dwarfs similar to the sun, except for one coherent explosion dating back to 1982.


In addition to many other discoveries that were made using telescopes with a single dish (only one layer antenna), which leads to their exposure to ground interference and inaccuracy of their data, so Zick and his team used the ZADCO telescope in Western Australia, in addition to data from NASA's TESS satellite and the ANU 2.3 telescope. At Siding Spring Spectral Observatory to obtain real data to search for strong evidence of a radio explosion from the star Proxima Centauri.


At the same time, the Australian Pathfinder Array (ASKAP) was used, a new type of world-leading radio telescope in the Western Australian desert; To take simultaneous observations of the low radio frequencies, which allowed them to record a series of radio explosions and relate the events to each other with a correlation ratio of less than one per 128,000, as the characteristics of the explosion were very close to a type 4 solar explosion, and this is a type of long-term explosion that is believed For the sun it is caused by the energetic electrons of the magnetic field after the glow from the CME.


"The ASKAP result is very exciting," said astronomer Tara Murphy from the University of Sydney. "The amazing data quality allowed us to see the stellar glow emitted by Proxima Centauri during its full development in amazing detail."


"More importantly, we can see polarized light that is evidence of these events, and it is a bit like looking at a star in sunglasses," she added. "Once ASKAP is turned on in full scan mode, we should be able to observe many events on nearby stars." .


Although not direct evidence of the CME of a red dwarf star, it is the strongest evidence of a sun-like radio explosion from a star so far, the researchers said. Based on the properties of the solar radio waves, it appears to be very much in agreement with them.


"This might be bad news in terms of space weather," Zetsch said. "It seems that the most common stars in the galaxy (red dwarfs) will not make good places for life."