White dwarf

white dwarfswhite dwarf starcentral starwhite dwarveswhite dwarf starsDADOstellar phenomenonwhitewhite dwarf matter
A white dwarf, also called a degenerate dwarf, is a stellar core remnant composed mostly of electron-degenerate matter.wikipedia
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Compact star

compact objectstellar remnantcompact objects
A white dwarf, also called a degenerate dwarf, is a stellar core remnant composed mostly of electron-degenerate matter.
In astronomy, the term "compact star" (or "compact object") refers collectively to white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes.

Sun

solarSolThe Sun
A white dwarf is very dense: its mass is comparable to that of the Sun, while its volume is comparable to that of Earth. When Ernst Öpik estimated the density of a number of visual binary stars in 1916, he found that 40 Eridani B had a density of over 25,000 times the Sun's, which was so high that he called it "impossible".
After this, it will shed its outer layers and become a dense type of cooling star known as a white dwarf, and no longer produce energy by fusion, but still glow and give off heat from its previous fusion.

Neutron star

neutron starsdying starneutron star formation
White dwarfs are thought to be the final evolutionary state of stars whose mass is not high enough to become a neutron star, that of about 10 solar masses.
They result from the supernova explosion of a massive star, combined with gravitational collapse, that compresses the core past white dwarf star density to that of atomic nuclei.

Stellar evolution

evolvedevolvingevolution
White dwarfs are thought to be the final evolutionary state of stars whose mass is not high enough to become a neutron star, that of about 10 solar masses.
Once a star like the Sun has exhausted its nuclear fuel, its core collapses into a dense white dwarf and the outer layers are expelled as a planetary nebula.

Chandrasekhar limit

limit(Chandrasekhar) limitChandrasekhar's work on limits
The physics of degeneracy yields a maximum mass for a non-rotating white dwarf, the Chandrasekhar limit—approximately 1.44 times of [[Solar mass|]]—beyond which it cannot be supported by electron degeneracy pressure.
The Chandrasekhar limit is the maximum mass of a stable white dwarf star.

Carbon detonation

runaway carbon fusionigniteignition of carbon fusion
A carbon-oxygen white dwarf that approaches this mass limit, typically by mass transfer from a companion star, may explode as a type Ia supernova via a process known as carbon detonation; SN 1006 is thought to be a famous example.
Carbon detonation or Carbon deflagration is the violent reignition of thermonuclear fusion in a white dwarf star that was previously slowly cooling.

Black dwarf

Sun will have cooled
The star's low temperature means it will no longer emit significant heat or light, and it will become a cold black dwarf.
A black dwarf is a theoretical stellar remnant, specifically a white dwarf that has cooled sufficiently that it no longer emits significant heat or light.

Sirius

SothisDog StarSirius B
The nearest known white dwarf is Sirius B, at 8.6 light years, the smaller component of the Sirius binary star.
The binary system consists of a main-sequence star of spectral type A0 or A1, termed Sirius A, and a faint white dwarf companion of spectral type DA2, designated Sirius B. The distance between the two varies between 8.2 and 31.5 astronomical units as they orbit every 50 years.

Main sequence

main-sequencemain sequence dwarfmain-sequence star
, § 1. After the hydrogen-fusing period of a main-sequence star of low or medium mass ends, such a star will expand to a red giant during which it fuses helium to carbon and oxygen in its core by the triple-alpha process. The first white dwarf discovered was in the triple star system of 40 Eridani, which contains the relatively bright main sequence star 40 Eridani A, orbited at a distance by the closer binary system of the white dwarf 40 Eridani B and the main sequence red dwarf 40 Eridani C. They should not be confused with low-luminosity objects at the low-mass end of the main sequence, such as the hydrogen-fusing red dwarfs, whose cores are supported in part by thermal pressure, or the even lower-temperature brown dwarfs.
After the hydrogen fuel at the core has been consumed, the star evolves away from the main sequence on the HR diagram, into a supergiant, red giant, or directly to a white dwarf.

Stellar classification

spectral typeK-typeG-type
In 1910, Henry Norris Russell, Edward Charles Pickering and Williamina Fleming discovered that, despite being a dim star, 40 Eridani B was of spectral type A, or white.
The sequence has been expanded with classes for other stars and star-like objects that do not fit in the classical system, such as class D for white dwarfs and classes S and C for carbon stars.

Milky Way

galaxyMilky Way Galaxyour galaxy
This includes over 97% of the other stars in the Milky Way.
The Milky Way may also contain perhaps ten billion white dwarfs, a billion neutron stars, and a hundred million black holes.

Procyon

Canis minorProcyon Aα CMi
Friedrich Bessel used position measurements to determine that the stars Sirius (α Canis Majoris) and Procyon (α Canis Minoris) were changing their positions periodically.
It is a binary star system, consisting of a white main-sequence star of spectral type F5 IV–V, named Procyon A, and a faint white dwarf companion of spectral type DQZ, named Procyon B.

Age of the universe

13.8 billion years ago13.8 billion yearsage
Because the length of time it takes for a white dwarf to reach this state is calculated to be longer than the current age of the universe (approximately 13.8 billion years), it is thought that no black dwarfs yet exist.
Since the universe must be at least as old as the oldest things in it, there are a number of observations which put a lower limit on the age of the universe; these include the temperature of the coolest white dwarfs, which gradually cool as they age, and the dimmest turnoff point of main sequence stars in clusters (lower-mass stars spend a greater amount of time on the main sequence, so the lowest-mass stars that have evolved off of the main sequence set a minimum age).

Electron degeneracy pressure

electronthe atomic forces
As a result, it cannot support itself by the heat generated by fusion against gravitational collapse, but is supported only by electron degeneracy pressure, causing it to be extremely dense.
Because of this, electron degeneracy creates a barrier to the gravitational collapse of dying stars and is responsible for the formation of white dwarfs.

40 Eridani

40 Eridani B40 Eridani Aο 2 Eri
The first white dwarf discovered was in the triple star system of 40 Eridani, which contains the relatively bright main sequence star 40 Eridani A, orbited at a distance by the closer binary system of the white dwarf 40 Eridani B and the main sequence red dwarf 40 Eridani C.
This meant that it had to be a small star; in fact it was a white dwarf, the first discovered.

Black hole

black holesblack-holeblackhole
and black holes.
They were partly correct: a white dwarf slightly more massive than the Chandrasekhar limit will collapse into a neutron star, which is itself stable.

Gravitational collapse

collapsecollapsedcollapsed star
As a result, it cannot support itself by the heat generated by fusion against gravitational collapse, but is supported only by electron degeneracy pressure, causing it to be extremely dense.
White dwarfs, in which gravity is opposed by electron degeneracy pressure

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

Chandrasekhar, SubrahmanyanChandrasekharS. Chandrasekhar
The modern value of the limit was first published in 1931 by Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar in his paper "The Maximum Mass of Ideal White Dwarfs".
Chandrasekhar worked on a wide variety of physical problems in his lifetime, contributing to the contemporary understanding of stellar structure, white dwarfs, stellar dynamics, stochastic process, radiative transfer, the quantum theory of the hydrogen anion, hydrodynamic and hydromagnetic stability, turbulence, equilibrium and the stability of ellipsoidal figures of equilibrium, general relativity, mathematical theory of black holes and theory of colliding gravitational waves.

Degenerate matter

degeneratedegeneracy pressureelectron-degenerate matter
A white dwarf, also called a degenerate dwarf, is a stellar core remnant composed mostly of electron-degenerate matter.
This type of matter is naturally found in stars in their final evolutionary states, like white dwarfs and neutron stars, where thermal pressure alone is not enough to avoid gravitational collapse.

Red dwarf

redred dwarf starsred dwarfs
The first white dwarf discovered was in the triple star system of 40 Eridani, which contains the relatively bright main sequence star 40 Eridani A, orbited at a distance by the closer binary system of the white dwarf 40 Eridani B and the main sequence red dwarf 40 Eridani C. They should not be confused with low-luminosity objects at the low-mass end of the main sequence, such as the hydrogen-fusing red dwarfs, whose cores are supported in part by thermal pressure, or the even lower-temperature brown dwarfs.
According to computer simulations, the minimum mass a red dwarf must have in order to eventually evolve into a red giant is ; less massive objects, as they age, would increase their surface temperatures and luminosities becoming blue dwarfs and finally white dwarfs.

Willem Jacob Luyten

LuytenW. J. LuytenWillem Luyten
The name white dwarf was coined by Willem Luyten in 1922.
Luyten studied the proper motions of stars and discovered many white dwarfs.

Red giant

red giant starred giantsred giant stars
, § 1. After the hydrogen-fusing period of a main-sequence star of low or medium mass ends, such a star will expand to a red giant during which it fuses helium to carbon and oxygen in its core by the triple-alpha process.
Instead, at the end of the asymptotic-giant-branch phase the star will eject its outer layers, forming a planetary nebula with the core of the star exposed, ultimately becoming a white dwarf.

Walter Sydney Adams

Walter AdamsWalter S. AdamsAdams, Walter Sydney
The spectral type of 40 Eridani B was officially described in 1914 by Walter Adams.
Such a star later came to be known as a white dwarf.

Ernst Öpik

E. J. OpikE. J. ÖpikErnst
When Ernst Öpik estimated the density of a number of visual binary stars in 1916, he found that 40 Eridani B had a density of over 25,000 times the Sun's, which was so high that he called it "impossible".
In his sample was ο 2 Eridani B, a white dwarf star.

Brown dwarf

brown dwarfsbrown dwarvesPlanetar
They should not be confused with low-luminosity objects at the low-mass end of the main sequence, such as the hydrogen-fusing red dwarfs, whose cores are supported in part by thermal pressure, or the even lower-temperature brown dwarfs.
However: (a) the term black dwarf was already in use to refer to a cold white dwarf; (b) red dwarfs fuse hydrogen; and (c) these objects may be luminous at visible wavelengths early in their lives.