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More Images of GJ 3253
Illustration of Low-mass Star
An artist's illustration depicts the interior of a low-mass star, such as the one seen in an X-ray image from Chandra in the image below. Such stars have different interior structures than our Sun. A new study looking at four of these low-mass stars shows the strength of magnetic fields of these stars - which is revealed by the amount of X-ray emission from the stars - are similar to those of more massive ones like the Sun. This discovery may have profound implications for understanding how the magnetic field in the Sun and stars like it are generated.
(Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

Illustration of Sun-like star
This artist's impression shows the internal structure of the sun and stars with a similar mass to the sun. These stars have a divided internal structure with an inner radiation zone, where energy moves outward, and an outer convection zone shown by loops with arrows. Similar to the circulation of warm air inside an oven, the process of convection in a star distributes heat from the interior of the star to its surface in a circulating pattern of rising cells of hot gas and descending cooler gas. A difference in the speed of rotation between the radiation and convection zones was thought to generate most of the magnetic field in the sun by causing magnetic fields along the border between the two zones to wind up and strengthen.
(Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)
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Click for large jpg X-ray and Optical
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X-ray & Optical Images of GJ 3253
By studying the X-ray emission of four stars with lower masses than the Sun, a pair of astronomers may have made an important discovery. They found that these lower-mass stars have magnetic fields that are similar in strength to stars like the Sun. This is surprising because the Sun and Sun-like stars have different regions within them where energy flows differently. Astronomers have thought the boundary between these different regions would contribute to the strength of the magnetic fields. If stars without such a boundary - like those in this latest study - have magnetic fields of similar strength, then this theory may need to be re-examined.
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Keele Univ/N.Wright et al; Optical: DSS)

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