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Astrophysicist: Quit calling our sun an “average star”


The average star, Adam Frank says, is not like our sun:

That whole “average star” meme works great if you want to make it seem like we are nothing special at all in the Universe. But from a stellar census point of view, it’s just not true.

The Sun, our happy fusion parent, is simply not average. Understanding why opens the door to some of the most interesting astrophysics in the Universe: the story of star formation…

The most common kind of star to emerge from the star formation process is much smaller than the Sun. These stars, called “M-dwarfs,” are not just less massive; they are also smaller, with radii about half that of the Sun. They are cooler, too, with surface temperatures about 3,600° Kelvin compared to the Sun’s nearly 5600° K. Finally, they are much less bright, shining only 0.05 times as much light into space as the Sun.

All these facts are more than mere astronomical trivia. Because these smaller stars are much more numerous, there will be more of them close to us than stars like our Sun. And since we are very interested in finding planets with life in the Universe, the commonality and nearness of these M stars means that they are the places that we will be doing most of our life-hunting. But can life form using the meager energy from such dim, cold stars?

Adam Frank, “What is the “average star” like? Hint: It’s not like our Sun” at Big Think (February 10, 2022)

But to admit that our Sun is not “average” would be to raise the dreaded spectre of fine-tuning. Facts that raise such a possibility can’t be treated as facts. Correct people simply continue to iterate that our Sun is an average star.

You may also wish to read: Templeton tries to wish away fine-tuning of the universe. So there you have it, folks. Fine-tuning is either a fluke or a multiverse. No other possibility is conceivable. Maybe science is about eliminating the concept of intelligence from the universe.

It depends on what the meaning of "average" is . . . kairosfocus

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