What are the stars called “white dwarf” – RB

What are the stars called “white dwarfs” – RB

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What are the stars called “white dwarfs” “- RB

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What are the stars called “white dwarf” – RB


With white dwarf we refer to stars of small size, with great density and a rather tenuous brightness of white color.

A white dwarf is a star of rather small size, characterized by a very soft brightness and a color that tends to white. Its extension is similar to that of the Earth, therefore, it does not have a high amplitude compared to other celestial bodies, but its mass is very dense. A bit like that of the Sun , if not even higher. The white dwarf is, in fact, one of the most density and gravity objects in the Universe .

White dwarf: what it is and how does it originate

Depending on the mass that composes it, a dying star can take the shape of a new celestial body. White dwarfs are extremely dense bodies, the last observable stage in the evolution of low and medium mass stars. While most of the more massive stars will eventually become a supernova, a star composed of non-mass elevated will eventually become a white dwarf , according to NASA. According to the researchers, approximately 97% of the stars in the Milky Way will eventually become white dwarfs .

The formation of a white dwarf originates from a gradual process, which concerns all stars of including mass between 0, 08 and 8 – 10 times the solar mass that have completed the main sequence stability phase and the following instability phases.

When a star runs out of fuel within its core, it is no longer able to experience any fusion anymore and its destiny is to collapse in on itself. If it has a mass between 0, 08 and 0.5 solar masses can become a white dwarf getting rid of the outer layers in the form of stellar wind. If its mass is between 0.5 and 8 solar masses, strong thermal pulsations occur inside the star that cause its outermost layers to escape.

The most massive stars, with a mass eight times that of the sun, will never become white dwarfs. Instead, at the end of their life, white dwarfs will explode in a violent supernova, leaving behind a neutron star or black hole.

White dwarf: some types

The composition of a white dwarf usually reflects the stage at which nuclear fusion reactions have stopped. We can therefore count more types of white dwarfs, which diverge from each other both in mass and in their chemical composition:

white dwarf to helium, white dwarf carbon-oxygen, white dwarf oxygen-neon-magnesium. However, it should be borne in mind that generally the main element of a white dwarf combines with the residues of the element that configured the previous celestial body, so it is possible to find hydrogen in helium dwarfs, or helium in carbon dwarfs, etc.

White dwarf: characteristics

Temperatures of white dwarfs can exceed 100. 000 Kelvin according to NASA (approx. 179. 500 degrees Fahrenheit). Despite these scorching temperatures, white dwarfs have low brightness as they are small in size according to New Mexico State University. According to NASA, a teaspoon of matter taken from a white dwarf would weigh 5.5 tons on the Earth, more or less like an elephant!

As we said at the beginning the white dwarf is one of the densest objects in space, surpassed only by stars of neutrons and black holes. According to NASA, the gravity on the surface of a white dwarf is 350. 000 times that of gravity on Earth. This means that a person with a weight of 68 kg on Earth would weigh 22, 7 million kg on the surface of a white dwarf .

The white dwarfs reach this incredible density because they have collapsed in such a strong way that their electrons are shattered. together, forming what in physics is called “degenerate matter.” These celestial bodies will continue to collapse until the electrons themselves produce forcefully enough outward thrust to stop this process.

What is the fate of a white dwarf ? Eventually, over tens or even hundreds of billions of years, a white dwarf cools down until it becomes a black dwarf, which no longer emits energy. Since the oldest stars in the universe have only 10 – 20 billions of years, the presence of black dwarfs is not yet known.

Estimating how long white dwarfs have cooled can help astronomers learn a lot about the age of the universe. But not all white dwarfs will spend many millennia to weaken. Those that are part of a binary star system may have gravitational pull strong enough to pick up various rock materials and not from a nearby star.

When a white dwarf assumes a mass that also allows it, it reaches a level called the chandrasekhar limit. At this point the pressure at its center will become so great that an uncontrolled merger will occur and the star will explode in a thermonuclear supernova.