Glossary term: Red Dwarf

Also known as M dwarf

Description: A red dwarf is a small, low-mass star with an effective temperature below 3900 kelvins (K) (~3600 degrees Celsius (°C)). These would appear redder than yellow Sun-like stars to the human eye, but there are no red dwarfs visible to the naked eye. Stars with masses between about 8% and 50% of the mass of the Sun spend the vast majority of their lives as red dwarfs. These stars fuse hydrogen at a much slower rate than stars like the Sun and are thus fainter, but can sustain hydrogen fusion for much longer. Many red dwarfs have very strong magnetic fields which result in more magnetic storms and a higher number of starspots than stars like the Sun. The majority of stars in the Milky Way are red dwarfs as are the majority of the stars within 10 parsecs of the Sun.

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Term and definition status: This term and its definition have been approved by a research astronomer and a teacher

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".