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Under a Crimson Sun: Prospects for Life in a Red Dwarf System (Astronomers' Universe) Paperback – 9 Aug 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2013 edition (9 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1461481325
  • ISBN-13: 978-1461481324
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,088,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


From the book reviews:

“It is a thought-provoking book, that provides information about modern research into exoplanets and super-Earths in particular, as well as entertaining science-writing, making this book an excellent choice for some additional reading for students and also showing how life might be totally different somewhere else and not similar at all to what we know here on Earth.” (Kadri Tinn,, August, 2014)

From the Back Cover

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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very useful book as it covers stellar and planetary evolution in general terms at a reasonable level. The second part of this book then applies these principles to the more specific instance of life being able to evolve and flourish on a planet orbiting a red dwarf star.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Better Than Title Would Lead You to Believe. 1 May 2014
By John M. - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thoroughly enjoyed book. Illuminating interpretations such as "Glorious Granite". I normally "tab" interesting pages in the books I read, here almost every page of this book was tabbed.

The author did not just write about red dwarfs but covered a wide range of topics (astrobiology, habitability, stellar formation & evolution, geophysics, etc.). An informative plethora of charts & figures.

Book is not well-suited for the general public, but for those with an interest in & knowledge of exoplanets, it "hit the spot".

I think I would have liked to have seen a bibliography, but with names of researchers provided throughout the book, I was able to get find the scientific papers (some of who the author had referred to, I had previously read the research papers and found his interpretations & summarizations very helpful).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Buy it, you will not regret it. 10 Sept. 2014
By Peter C. - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have an astrophysical background(but this is not a requirement for understanding the contents of the book) and enjoy the book very much. The book explains the important issues very clearly. It is well written. It is also modern and up-to-date in its contents. Highly recommended, especially if you are fascinated as I am by the properties of planets around the most common stars in the Universe.
Disappointing 7 Aug. 2015
By Le Voyageur - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My negative review stems from several factors. First, I have seen comments in other book reviews advising that one should not be so bothered by editorial mistakes. Well, one reviewer of this book mentioned tabbing items of interest. My problem is that I began tabbing errors. There are three errors in the “About the Author” section alone. And they kept piling up: errors of commission and omission. One sentence can only be read logically if a “not” has been dropped. I had to start reading defensively – examining each sentence to see if it made sense.

Then there are factual errors. On page 60 the author states “The moon was formed from a collision between the infant Earth and a Mar-size planetesimal only about 400 million years ago.” This may have come as a surprise to the Devonian life forms of the period. Perhaps the author meant something else, but that is not what he wrote. Another error was defining a 5-trillioneth as one divided by 5 trillion. Again, perhaps a hasty error, but not what I want to find.

Finally, the book itself is a bit of a puzzle. Ten percent is devoted to an explanation of plate tectonics. There is also another long chapter on discovery of extraterrestrial planets. Interesting, but there seemed to be too many pages devoted to these discussions that perhaps could have been presented as a summary. The author’s stated intent is to examine the factors that contribute to a planet being habitable, but I think a more concise treatment would have sufficed for the various factors treated in Part 1.

On the plus side, there is a wealth of gorgeous, full-color diagrams that nicely illustrate the author’s points.

But overall, I could not overcome the problems in this book. I admit I gave up at about the half-way point. Just too many errors and places where I had to figure out what the author might have really meant.

I hope the author reissues this book after a more thorough editorial review – both copy editing and substantive (technical) editing. I would be interested in finishing it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Detailed look at how planets and life may evolve around red dwarf stars 22 Sept. 2014
By Karl H. Torvmark - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book that explores in detail how planets and life may evolve around red dwarf stars. Impressive multi-disiplinary approach (both astronomy, biology and geology covered) that is still readable to a broad audience.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Nicely done. The author makes you understand that even ... 13 Oct. 2014
By CHARLES ANDERSON - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nicely done. The author makes you understand that even though the temperature might be right a planet closer to it's parent star has other issues to deal with due to it's closer position to the star.
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