Titan-like worlds around M stars

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Titan-like worlds around M stars

Post by Diakonov on 30th October 2017, 4:22 pm

I would like to know if the atmosphere of a world similar to Titan with more methane would still be opaque (due to the production of the organic compounds in upper atmosphere) or if it would be more transparent (less hazy), since red dwarf stars produce much less UV light, except during the flares. I don't know, but maybe only during the flares the atmosphere of such worlds would turn to be opaque and orange (the UV and X-rays produced by the flare would break methane, with a descrease in surface temperature, due to the haze blocking sunlight), and when the flare period finish, the sky turn to be bluish and transparent again slowly, increasing surface temperature. Maybe in such worlds orbiting red dwarves the flare period plays an inportant role in both development and sustaining of exotic life.

Someone have any scenario suggestion?

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Re: Titan-like worlds around M stars

Post by Lazarus on 31st October 2017, 3:58 pm

I guess it depends on how active the M dwarf is. The most relevant reference I can find is Gilliam & McKay (2011), which unfortunately does not seem to have a freely-available version. From the abstract:
Compared to the Sun, red dwarf stars have less blackbody ultraviolet light but can have more Lyman α and particle radiation associated with flares. Thus depending on the details, the haze production may be much higher or much lower than for the current Titan.
This paper was also discussed on Centauri Dreams here, with focus on the implications for the liquid methane "habitable" zone.

The other question is how long the haze remains in the atmosphere, if the time is long compared to the interval between flares then there wouldn't be less variation in the amount of haze while the star is flaring and while it is quiescent.
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