US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — If you look at the sky on a clear dark night, you will see thousands of bright points of light. These are stars, but they are incredibly far and bright enough to be visible to the naked eye from such a great distance. But you will not see small stars. The red dwarfs are too small and dull to be seen at the same distances.
The stars you see in the night sky are among the largest and brightest in our galactic region, the farthest of which are located at a distance of no more than several thousand light years. But in the same volume there are much more stars than several thousand – there are about a million of them and all of them are invisible to the naked eye.
Even the closest star to the Sun, Proxima Centauri, is so small and weak that it cannot be seen without a telescope.
These are the so-called red dwarf stars. They are no more than half the size of our Sun and, as a rule, no more than one tenth of its brightness. But, despite their small growth, they have incredible longevity.
Stars shine through nuclear fusion deep in their nuclei. For a star like our Sun, the speed of fusion is really great, releasing a huge amount of energy necessary to support the star, struggling with the crushing gravity of its own weight.
Stars that are much larger than our Sun will run out of fuel in just a few million years (yes, this includes most of the stars you see in the night sky), while stars like our Sun can live about 10 billion years. But red dwarfs are like economical space cars. They just sip their hydrogen fuel and use it sparingly – they just don’t have much work to maintain their brightness.
In addition, most of the hydrogen in a sun-like star will remain unspent, living its whole life in the star’s atmosphere, and not in its core, where it can participate in thermonuclear fusion. But red dwarfs spread their plasma throughout the volume, drawing fresh reserves of hydrogen from the outer layers of the star into the nucleus, while maintaining brightness.
Because of this, those little red stars that are too small to be seen with our eyes can last an incredibly long time: hundreds of billions of years, up to 10 trillion years for the smallest. In the distant, distant future – so much so that it is almost incomprehensible to human understanding – stars like our sun and larger will eventually die, and new ones will not appear to replace them.
All that remains is small red dwarfs illuminating the cosmos. And it will not be so much. Our distant descendants (if we have them) will inherit a dull, dark universe.
Contact us: [email protected]