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White Dwarf “Zombie” Stars and Their Roles in Supernovae Explosions

17 Aug 2017, 16:15 UTC
White Dwarf “Zombie” Stars and Their Roles in Supernovae Explosions
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Artistic view of the aftermath of a supernova explosion, with an unexpected white dwarf remnant. These super-dense but no longer active stars are thought to play a key role in many supernovae explosion. The light emitted by the supernova explosion would have been for a few days as brigh t as the whole of the Milky Way .

White dwarf stars, the remnant cores of low-mass stars unable to fuse xxx , are among the most dense objects in the sky.

Their mass is comparable to that of the sun, while their volume is comparable to that of Earth. Very roughly, this means the average density of matter in a white dwarf would be on the order of 1,000,000 times greater than the average density of the sun.

Thought to be the final evolutionary state of stars whose mass is not high enough to become a neutron star, which would include the sun and over 97% of the other stars in the Milky Way, they are dim objects first identified a century ago but only in the last decade the subject of broad study.

In recent years the white dwarfs have become more and ...

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