WHITE DWARF (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     23rd March 2024        
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Context: Astronomers from the University of Oklahoma and their colleagues report the detection of four white dwarf stars of a recently discovered rare DAQ spectral subclass.

White Dwarf

  • About: A white dwarf forms from the core of a dying star, becoming the endpoint of stars like the Sun after nuclear fuel depletion.

oPluto is a dwarf planet located in a distant region of our solar system beyond Neptune known as the Kuiper Belt.

  • Energy Generation: White dwarfs cease nuclear fusion reactions but maintain high temperatures.
  • Size and Density: Despite being half as massive as the Sun, white dwarfs are only slightly larger than Earth, making them extraordinarily dense.
  • Composition and Pressure: Comprising helium, carbon, oxygen nuclei, and energetic electrons, white dwarfs are supported by electron degeneracy pressure.

  • Cooling Process: Without accreting matter, white dwarfs cool over billions of years, potentially leading to the formation of black dwarfs.
  • Cosmological Significance: White dwarfs offer insights into past star formation, with their luminosity aiding astronomers in dating stellar origins.
  • X-ray Emission: Young white dwarfs emit soft X-rays, serving as crucial cosmological records of their progenitor stars.
  • Observational Milestones: In 2006, Hubble observed white dwarfs in globular star clusters, revealing them as the dimmest stars ever seen in such clusters.

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