Latest White dwarf Stories
First results from a new NASA-funded scientific instrument at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii are helping scientists overturn long-standing assumptions about powerful explosions called novae and have produced the first unified model for a nearby nova called RS Ophiuchi.
The Gemini South Multi-Object Spectograph (GMOS) recently captured a dramatic image of a vast cloud complex named DEM L316 located in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The peanut-shaped nebula appears to be a single object, but the latest research indicates that it is really comprised of two distinct gas and dust clouds formed by different types of supernova explosions.
New observations from Suzaku have challenged scientistsâ€™ conventional understanding of white dwarfs. Observers had believed white dwarfs were inert stellar corpses that slowly cool and fade away, but the new data tell a completely different story.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is providing strong evidence that white dwarfs, the burned out relics of stars, are given a "kick" when they form.
Astronomers have discovered white dwarf stars with pure carbon atmospheres. These stars possibly evolved in a sequence astronomers didn't know before.
Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have found that a supernova discovered last year was caused by two colliding white dwarf stars. The white dwarfs were siblings orbiting each other.
Using NASAâ€™s Swift and Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) satellites, astronomers have discovered one of the most bizarre planet-mass objects ever found.
The chemical fingerprint of a burned-out star indicates that Earth-like planets may not be rare in the universe and could give clues to what our solar system will look like when our sun dies and becomes a white dwarf star some five billion years from now.
A unique set of observations, obtained with ESO's VLT, has allowed astronomers to find direct evidence for the material that surrounded a star before it exploded as a Type Ia supernova.
Andromeda, the nearest major galaxy to the Milky Way, is shown here in this wide-field optical image from Kitt Peak.
White Dwarf -- A white dwarf is a a star supported by electron degeneracy. A star like our Sun will become a white dwarf when it has exhausted its nuclear fuel. Near the end of its nuclear burning stage, such a star goes through a red giant phase and then expels most of its outer material (creating a planetary nebula) until only the hot (T > 100,000 K) core remains, which then settles down to become a young white dwarf. A typical white dwarf is half as massive as the Sun, yet only...
Stellar Evolution -- Stellar evolution is the process of formation, life, and death of stars. It is one of the major topics of cosmogony. Star Birth and Life A star starts out as an enormous cloud of gas and dust many light-years across. Star formation begins when the cloud begins to condense under its own gravity. The processes that initiate this contraction are not fully understood. The cloud fragments fuse into stellar mass clouds known as protostars. Protostars do not emit...
Nova -- A nova is an enormous nuclear explosion caused by the accretion of hydrogen onto the surface of a white dwarf star. When a white dwarf has a close companion star, the companion will often begin to have its outer atmosphere drawn away from it by the white dwarf's gravity as the companion star ages and expands into a red giant. The gases so captured consist primarily of hydrogen and helium, the two principle constituents of matter in the universe. The gases are compacted on the...
Cataclysmic Variable Star -- Cataclysmic variables are a class of binary stars containing a white dwarf and a companion star. The companion star is usually a red dwarf, although in some cases it is another white dwarf or a slightly evolved star (subgiant). Several hundreds of cataclysmic variables are known. From the observational viewpoint, cataclysmic variables are relatively easy to discover. They are usually quite blue objects, as the majority of stars are red. The variability of...
Sirius -- Sirius (Î± Canis Major, also known as the Dog Star) is the brightest star (-1.46m) in the night sky and can be seen from every inhabited region of the Earth's surface. At a distance of 8.6 light years, Sirius is also one of the nearest stars to Earth. It is a main sequence star of spectral type A0 or A1 and has a mass about 2.4 times that of the Sun. Sirius has a white dwarf companion called Sirius B which orbits it with a period close to 50 years. It was the first white...
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