9 votes

At 4/3rds the mass of the sun and 4300 kilometers across, Astronomers discover the most massive and smallest White Dwarf yet

3 comments

  1. [3]
    Kuromantis
    Link

    A dead star the size of the Moon is the smallest of its kind we've ever seen.

    It's a white dwarf star, the ultradense collapsed core of a star in the mass range of the Sun, but it's just 4,280 kilometers (2,660 miles) across. It's also the most massive white dwarf star we've ever seen, clocking in at around 1.35 times the mass of the Sun.

    Just take a second to wrap your head around that - a tad over our Sun's mass packed into a sphere only slightly larger than the size of our Moon. Pretty incredible, isn't it?

    And the white dwarf, named ZTF J1901+1458 and located around 130 light-years away, really is incredible. Its density and mass place it right on the verge of the Chandrasekhar limit - the maximum mass a white dwarf can be before it becomes so unstable that it blows up in a spectacular supernova.

    "We caught this very interesting object that wasn't quite massive enough to explode," said theoretical astrophysicist Ilaria Caiazzo of Caltech. "We are truly probing how massive a white dwarf can be."

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      And what would happen if it exploded?

      And what would happen if it exploded?

      1. teaearlgraycold
        Link Parent
        I’m no expert on the matter, but I believe it would appear as one of the brighter stars in the sky for potentially months. And then you’d have a cloud of matter left hanging where the star used to be.

        I’m no expert on the matter, but I believe it would appear as one of the brighter stars in the sky for potentially months. And then you’d have a cloud of matter left hanging where the star used to be.

        2 votes