JULIAN BAUM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JULIAN BAUM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Red dwarf star. Artwork representing the intense activity of a red dwarf star. These are among the least massive stars in the universe ranging from 0.1 to 0.7 solar masses. The star shown here belongs to a subclass of red dwarf stars, known as the flare stars, which are characterised by frequent (3-4 per hour) flares. These are seen as sudden brightenings with a typical rising time between 1s and 1min and a slower fading time between 1min and 1 hour. During a flare, filaments of gas in the atmosphere are accelerated outwards with speeds up to 1000km/s. Such speeds are greater than the escape velocity and therefore the matter ejected will be lost from the parent star.
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