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A dark hycean world is supposed to be a hot water world with a thick atmosphere around a red dwarf star. This means it's tidally locked with one side forever facing the sun and the other forever facing space. These red dwarves do tend to flare often so proper shelter would be a must. Would just going beneath the clouds suffice or would submerging beneath the ocean be required to avoid the solar radiation?

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Hard to see, the dark hycean is...

An article on this made the rounds recently, based on this paper. Note that "Dark Hycean" is defined in terms of "habitable zone" - it is said life cannot exist on these worlds except on the far dark side of the tidally locked planet. Avoiding direct solar radiation is, therefore, not a priority as they envision it.

To be sure, there is not really such a thing as a habitable zone, only a habitable planet. The poles of Mercury have comfortable temperatures while the "seas" of Neptune are likely much too hot for any life we imagine. Even with the narrow definitions given, the dark hycean planets might allow for temperate upper layers of the atmosphere as on Venus or Saturn, or cool deep layers of ocean far below.

The flyers of such a world should be well evolved to withstand radiation, like some organisms on Earth; if anything, they come seeking the flares to harvest their energy.

For the night side, I would divide up the organisms as with my musings on Saturn, into Earthlike life and filamentous life. The Earthlike life relies more on biochemistry, and uses anti-solar cells (there's such a thing!) to gain some energy by radiating heat out to space. Filamentous life embraces the turbulence of the air and sea, consisting primarily of long filaments of graphene, carbon nanotube ... apparently diamond is on the list now. Stretching the filament generates piezoelectricity, which is captured and used to generate electromagnetic waves along the filament to supply the organism's biosynthetic energy. On most planets these two geneses of life work together symbiotically. For example, the daytime flyers rely on filamentous life to form the large flight surfaces needed to move efficiently and safely at high altitude in a hydrogen atmosphere, but rely on Earthlike photosynthesis to absorb the solar radiation.

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  • $\begingroup$ Should I be picturing giant kites with lots of streamers? $\endgroup$
    – Joe Smith
    Mar 7, 2022 at 20:45
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    $\begingroup$ @JoeSmith - Sort of. Do an image search for "solar drone". Now, our life forms will certainly have the ability to flex wings, so don't take that too literally - cross a solar drone with a manta ray, perhaps. But it has to be very light thanks to its sturdy carbon filaments, and absorb a lot of solar radiation. The Earthlike life might be macroscopic symbiotes roosting on this platform, or microscopic networks of biochemical symbiotes integrated with it like fungus growing on a log, etc. $\endgroup$ Mar 7, 2022 at 23:10
  • $\begingroup$ I can see it. Different regions could have different local symbiotes. Or different species could attract different symbiotes. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Smith
    Mar 8, 2022 at 2:08
  • $\begingroup$ But manta ray shape feels too been done. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Smith
    Mar 8, 2022 at 2:08
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    $\begingroup$ I didn't mean to stick to that literally. After all, I put a solar drone in the other teleporter. :) You could make it a very short, very wide planarian, sea bird without feet, a frisbee with bead curtains hanging out that interact with the turbulence ... it just needs a sunlit surface that doesn't waste energy, a vaguely plausible ability to fly, and environmental handwaving to accommodate it. $\endgroup$ Mar 8, 2022 at 2:13
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It may not be necessary to seek shelter during a red dwarf star's flares at all. Recent research shows that red dwarf flares are emitted from the poles of the stars, away from the star's equator and planetary orbital plane. So, if shelter is required at all, it's unlikely that much will be needed.

If the only threat is the greatly increased luminosity during the flares, this could be mitigated by sheltering behind the clouds or on the dark side of the planet.

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  • $\begingroup$ Kind of takes the fun out of it $\endgroup$
    – Joe Smith
    Mar 5, 2022 at 0:22
  • $\begingroup$ They're still going to increase luminosity a lot. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Mar 5, 2022 at 0:25
  • $\begingroup$ For sake of argument let's assume there is danger $\endgroup$
    – Joe Smith
    Mar 5, 2022 at 0:42
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Given the projected depth and density of the atmospheres of hycean worlds there may be no need for additional shelter from radiation. I would be more concerned with building habitats that can survive the extremes of weather that are thought to be the norm on a tidally locked water world. Actually you'd have to build with flares in mind there as well, the weather would be made more violent by flare activity due to the increased energy flux raising the thermal gradient.

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  • $\begingroup$ By extreme weather are you talking about the perpetual storm at the center of the light side. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Smith
    Mar 5, 2022 at 2:11
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    $\begingroup$ @JoeSmith Perpetual transglobal circulation caused by the vast temperature differences between the light and dark sides of the planet. $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Mar 5, 2022 at 2:13
  • $\begingroup$ Might want to ask a question about that $\endgroup$
    – Joe Smith
    Mar 5, 2022 at 2:23

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