Under a Crimson Sun

Prospects for Life in a Red Dwarf System

  • David S. Stevenson

Part of the Astronomers' Universe book series (ASTRONOM)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Common Themes

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. David S. Stevenson
      Pages 3-38
    3. David S. Stevenson
      Pages 39-61
    4. David S. Stevenson
      Pages 105-135
    5. David S. Stevenson
      Pages 137-153
    6. David S. Stevenson
      Pages 173-203
  3. Life Under a Crimson Sun

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 205-205
    2. David S. Stevenson
      Pages 207-231
    3. David S. Stevenson
      Pages 267-300
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 301-324

About this book


Gliese 581 is a red dwarf star some 20.3 light years from Earth. Red dwarfs are among the most numerous stars in the galaxy, and they sport diverse planetary systems. At magnitude 10, Gliese 581 is visible to amateur observers but does not stand out. So what makes this star so important? It is that professional observers have confirmed that it has at least four planets orbiting it, and in 2009, Planet d was described in the letters of The Astrophysical Journal as “the first confirmed exoplanet that could support Earth-like life.”


Under a Crimson Sun looks at the nature of red dwarf systems such as Gliese as potential homes for life.


Realistically, what are prospects for life on these distant worlds? Could life evolve and survive there? How do these planetary surfaces and geology evolve? How would life on a red dwarf planet differ from life on Earth? And what are the implications for finding further habitable worlds in our galaxy?


Stevenson provides readers with insight into the habitability of planets and how this changes as time progresses and the central star evolves. Explore with him in this engaging, fascinating book the possibilities for finding life, from bacteria to more complex and even intelligent organisms, on red dwarf system planets.


Gliese 581 Habitable worlds Life on exoplanets Life on other planets Planetary evolution Red dwarf stars Stellar evolution Super-Earths Sustainability of Earth popular astronomy book

Authors and affiliations

  • David S. Stevenson
    • 1
  1. 1.SherwoodUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013
  • Publisher Name Springer, New York, NY
  • eBook Packages Physics and Astronomy
  • Print ISBN 978-1-4614-8132-4
  • Online ISBN 978-1-4614-8133-1
  • Series Print ISSN 1614-659X
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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