Artist's conception of a planet orbiting a red dwarf starDo red dwarfs
Little, cool, red stars
Have planets like Earth?
No, said Dole,
Close enough in to be warm
Tides will lock them
One face always to the star
One always in night.
Air would freeze out on the night side.
Too true, said Kasting.
Of O B A F G K M stars
Try only F G K for habitable planets
Not dim little M.
Then came the climate modelers
Model builders
Fortran programmers
And yes said Haberle
And yes said Joshi
Enough CO2 and the atmosphere stays
Wind rises on the day side
Sinks on the night side
Circulates
Distributes heat evenly
The planets can be habitable.
Does the wind bring nice smells
From the flowers on the day side?
Asked the astronomer's little daughter.
Honey, he said, We don't know yet
If there are flowers on those planets
There are, she said.

Copyright © 2009, Barton Paul Levenson

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon

Barton Paul Levenson has a degree in physics.  Happily married to genre poet Elizabeth Penrose, he confuses everybody by being both a born-again Christian and a liberal Democrat.  His work has appeared in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, Cricket, Cicada, the New York Review of Science Fiction and many small press markets.  His novel, Ella the Vampire, can be downloaded now from Lyrical Press, and I Will is coming from Virtual Tales in Spring, 2009.