Red dwarf star
Kaler, James B. Department of Astronomy, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.
- Additional Readings
A low-mass main-sequence star of spectral classes M and L. Red dwarf stars range from somewhat over half a solar mass at class M0 down to just under 0.08 solar mass in cool M and warm L, below which the proton-proton chain cannot run. Lower-mass bodies are termed brown dwarfs. At the transition, within class L (even, for young stars, class M), the two are difficult to distinguish. Effective temperatures range from 3800 K (6400°F) at class M0 down to about 2400 K (3900°F) at class L0, and absolute visual magnitudes from +9 to +20. Downward along the main sequence, red dwarfs produce progressively more radiation in the infrared. Bolometric corrections (which account for invisible radiation) range from around −1.2 to −7 magnitudes, so luminosities range from about 0.1 down to 2 × 10−4 the solar luminosity. Radii range from about two-thirds that of the Sun down to about one-tenth. Spectra become increasingly complex, with titanium oxide and neutral metals appearing at the warm end of class M, these and vanadium oxide appearing toward the cool end, and neutral alkali metals and metal hydrides appearing in class L. See also: Brown dwarf; Magnitude (astronomy); Proton-proton chain
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