The quite small and cool star may have been considered as a friendly environment for planets capable of sustaining life, but recent findings have shown that this tiny dwarf star makes alien life unlikely due to its stormy nature.
The well-known star named TVLM 513-4546, located in the Boötes constellation 35 light years from Earth, has been extensively documented upon because it is right on the verge between a red dwarf and a brown dwarf. Brown dwarf stars are stars which can no longer fuse hydrogen. By residing on this verge, the red dwarf is quite cool when compared to our Sun and quite dim as well.
Even if at a first glance it might seem as the perfect environment for planets capable of producing and sustaining life, scientists and astronomers have recently discovered that TVLM 513-4546 actually has a magnetic force and stormy nature to be reckoned with.
With the help of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, known as ALMA, astronomers have seen how this red dwarf generates a magnetic field several times stronger than our Sun, even if it has only one tenth of its mass. The emissions that this red dwarf produces are at a frequency of 95 GHz, the highest frequency ever recorded from a red dwarf.
These types of emissions are produced by our sun as well, but at a much slower rate, mainly due to the fact that TVLM 513-4546 spins around its axis at enormous speeds, completing a full cycle every two hours, compared to the monthly cycle that our Sun has.
These massive bursts of energy are 10.000 times brighter than the emission of our Sun, and after observing it over a four hour period of time, astronomers have concluded that the red dwarf remains active constantly.
The findings produced by ALMA have thrown a wrench in the search of habitable planets that astrobiologists currently conduct. Red stars have already been a precarious environment for habitable planets, due to the short distance they have to be from the star in order for them to sustain life.
Add to this the massive magnetic force and bright flares that TVLM 513-4546 produces in a constant manner, life on such planets would be impossible. Molecules and atmospheres would have a very hard time on these types of planets due to the constant radiation bombardment the star subjects them to.
Because this tiny dwarf star makes alien life unlikely due to its stormy nature, astronomers are now trying to find if the red dwarf is just an anomaly or if its characteristics are shared with the other red dwarfs that make up over 75% of the stars in our Milky Way.