The story behind Red Dwarf: one of the oldest stars

Stars are luminous bodies which consist of chemical reactions that generate light from its core. They are also held together by their own gravity. In the universe, there are billions of stars which are categorized accordingly to similar characteristics.

The major type of stars we have are the main sequence stars, red giant stars, white dwarf stars, red dwarf stars, neutron stars, and the super-giant stars.

From scientific observations, the red dwarf stars are characterized by their small size (about 7 – 50% of the sun) and the dim light they project.

Formation of Red Dwarf Stars

Red stars are formed when bigger stars run out of hydrogen fuel and thus combine to form a helium atom. This chemical reaction occurs inside the star.

Due to the implosive pull of the gravitational force around the stars, the chemical reaction which converts the hydrogen atoms to the helium atoms has enough energy to resist the imminent gravitational implosion.

This process takes up to 5 – 10 billion years before completion. The time required for this change is very dependent on the size of the previous star which is changing shape.

After the full conversion, the implosive gravitation starts all over again thus making the helium molecule combine to form carbon molecule. This has enough energy to withstand the gravitational inward pull of gravity around it.

Due to their low mass and temperature during conversion, the red dwarf stars emit far less light as compared to the sun.

Through convection, other stars’ energy is radiated from the core through the surface. This process leads to the loss of mass of the star. However, the red dwarf star is fully convective. They do not have stored helium at the core and do not radiate as high as the other stars. For this reason, they have a longer lifespan as compared to other stars in the constellation.

Characteristics of Red Dwarf Stars

  1. Metallic Characteristic: All known red stars have elements which are heavier than both hydrogen and helium. Irrespective of the size and luminosity of the red stars, they are always characterized by their metallic state.
  2. Low Luminosity: The red dwarf star comparably radiates about 10% of the radiation the sun radiates. This is due to the reaction that goes on in the core and the mass of the red stars.
  3. Low Mass: Compared to the sun, the red dwarf has a low mass for a star. The mass of the red dwarf stars varies from between 7.5 – 50% of the mass of the sun.
  4. Longer lifespan: The red dwarf stars have a longer lifespan as compared to other stars. This is due to the luminosity and low mass of the red stars. A typical red dwarf star lives for about 10 trillion years. This is far longer than the sun. This is basically because the red dwarf stars burn their fuel a little less fast as compared to the other stars.

The red dwarf stars are one of the oldest known stars. They are characterized by their red color, dwarf size, metallic properties, and their lifespan.