38

The answer to your question is both yes and no, depending on the circumstances. Two white dwarfs colliding would likely yield a Type Ia supernova, assuming the combined mass exceeded the Chandrasekhar limit ($\sim1.4$ solar masses). The unstable object resulting from the collision could not be supported by electron degeneracy pressure; when the temperature ...


19

I don't think there is an accepted definition of a "black dwarf" - it is not a term used in the scientific literature. A popular definition that appears to circulate on the internet is that it is a white dwarf that has cooled down to the extent that it no longer emits any radiation in the visible part of the spectrum. But this is an unworkable theoretical ...


17

Will Sirius B start accreting? Yes, it is doing so now. Sirius A will have a wind and some of that wind will be captured by the white dwarf. The effectiveness of wind capture is a strong function of relative wind speed. An analytic approximation to the accretion rate, known as Bondi-Hoyle accretion, goes as the inverse cube of the relative speed. In its ...


13

I think what you need is here on the Wikipedia. In section "Radiation and cooling," it says "The rate of cooling has been estimated ... After initially taking approximately 1.5 billion years to cool to a surface temperature of 7140 K, cooling approximately 500 more K ... takes around 0.3 billion years, but the next two steps of around 500 K ... take first 0....


10

The density of white dwarfs is not hypothetical, it can be measured. The short answer is that the density is so high that a stable star can only be supported by electron degeneracy. Sirius B is an example. The radius can be estimated by combining the luminosity of the white dwarf with its temperature estimated from spectroscopy. The mass can then be ...


10

Nobody really knows how type Ia supernovae detonate (or deflagrate) - there are a number of possibilities. The "vanilla" possibility is not what you state in your question, it is that the white dwarf accretes sufficient mass that it approaches the Chandrasekhar limit and becomes dense enough in its core to commence carbon burning. However, the emerging ...


10

Short answer: The Sun will lose about half of its mass on the way to becoming a white dwarf. Most of this mass loss will occur in the last few million years of its life, during the Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) phase. At the same time the orbital radius of the Earth around the Sun will grow by a factor of two (as will the outer planets). Unfortunately for ...


10

Straightforwardly no. For a start there are almost no free protons inside a white dwarf. They are all safely locked away in the nuclei of carbon and oxygen nuclei (which are bosonic). There are a few protons near the surface, but not in sufficient numbers to be degenerate. Let us assume though that you were able to build a hydrogen white dwarf that had ...


10

The answer is: to a neutron star - possibly; to a black hole, no. The process whereby a neutron star is formed is known as an accretion induced collapse and is being seriously debated, especially in the case of white dwarfs that are born at the upper end of the "natural mass range" for white dwarfs and then accrete more mass as part of a binary system. An ...


9

I think the most important part of any answer is that, as Rob Jeffries said, "black dwarfs" aren't really a thing in the astronomical literature, and I suspect that's the reason that you get different answers about how long it takes to become one. Different people come up with different thresholds for becoming one. I would argue that 3000 K is too hot to ...


6

White dwarfs are objects the size of the Earth, but with a mass more similar to the Sun. Typical internal densities are $10^{9}$ to $10^{11}$ kg/m$^{3}$. White dwarfs are born as the contracting core of asymptotic giant branch stars that do not quite get hot enough to initiate carbon fusion. They have initial central temperatures of $\sim 10^{8}$K, that ...


6

Proton degeneracy is not important, because its effect is much smaller -- much like nuclear particles in theory also are dictated by gravity, but the electromagnetic and nuclear forces are dominating, since they are much stronger. Proton degeneracy is weaker than electron degeneracy due to the far greater mass of the proton compared to the electron. The ...


6

The distance between Sirius A and B is between 8 and 31.5 AU and even when Sirius A becomes a red giant it will be still above 6 AU. Such distance is too large and does not allow Sirius B to accrete significant mass, almost all mass lost by Sirius A as a red giant and later AGB will escape into space. Sirius B may become a recurrent nova due to some ...


5

The smallest, precisely measured mass for a neutron star is now $1.174 \pm 0.004 M_{\odot}$ - Martinez et al. (2015). The theoretical lower limit is more like $0.1M_{\odot}$, but there are no obvious formation channels to produce such an object. See https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/143166/what-is-the-theoretical-lower-mass-limit-for-a-...


5

No, the two limits are not the same - there is some range of masses that both white dwarfs (WDs) and neutron stars (NSs) can have. The Chandrasekhar mass limit suggests that WDs cannot be more massive than about $1.4\,M_\odot$. However, this is true for non-rotating WDs. Rapidly rotating WDs might be as massive as $2\,M_\odot$. Accretion in a binary ...


5

Intro for the uninformed: A standard candle is an important concept in astronomy, helping to map out distances in the Universe. Since the observed flux $F$ of a light source decreases with distance $r$ by a known factor ($r^2$), if we know its intrinsic luminosity L, we can calculate the distance. For large distances, where bright sources are needed, we ...


5

The material at the surface of a white dwarf is not degenerate. The "visible" surface is defined as where the optical depth exceeds some threshold and this will occur at a low enough density that even at a few hundred kelvin, the ratio of the Fermi energy to the thermal energy is too low for significant degeneracy. In addition, at these temperatures, the ...


5

Fun question. Without doubt it would be very violent and spectacular, but not much is known about stellar collisions and only a few have ever been observed. Most stellar collisions happen due to tight orbits where the stars spiral in towards each other or perhaps, 3 or more body chaotic star systems with unstable orbits that lead to an impact. Space ...


5

Certainly a red-dwarf star can have enough energy for a planet around it to be in the goldilocks zone. There are some difficulties with red-dwarf stars and Earth like planets. The planet would need to be very close to the star and as a result, tidally locked. The orbital period would be quite short, so there would be no seasons and one side of the ...


4

Gravitational wave sources, such as close, compact binaries can be treated as standard candles. Actually a better metaphor would be "standard sirens". As was recently demonstrated by the recent detection of a gravitational wave signal from a merging black hole binary, the amplitude of the signal, combined with its frequency behaviour give you both the ...


4

My kneejerk reaction is that your only option is to remove a chunk of mass from the outer part of the Sun. The Sun will respond (on a Kelvin-Helmholtz timescale), by contracting and becoming less luminous because the core temperature is lower in a less massive star. This will extend its main sequence lifetime, because only the central parts of the star are ...


4

I'm not entirely sure what your source of confusion is, so I'll just describe how temperature and degeneracy relate and hope that clears it up. Fermions All particles which are fermions are subject to the Pauli Exclusion Principle. This means no two fermions can occupy the same quantum state. They will resist doing so. What that really means, doesn't ...


4

I'm far from an expert in this, but I have a reasonable guess at an answer. The White Dwarf page on Wikipedia describes what would probably happen. It seems that the WD would consume mass from the companion star until it can either sustain fusion, or fuse so much so quickly that it explodes into a Type 1a supernova. If a white dwarf is in a binary ...


4

In the case of WASP-12b, at least, the close proximity to the star has actually deformed the planet so much that it is overflowing its Roche-lobe, the area around a planet or star that . We can show this mathematically by finding the approximate Roche-lobe of the planet using: $\frac{r_1}{A}=.46224\sqrt[3]{\frac{M_1}{M_1+M_2}}$ for $\frac{M_1}{M_2}<.8$ (...


4

The strong gravity of the white dwarf star makes it difficult for stellar wind to escape. Unglaub (2008) shows that for surface gravity $\log g > 7.0$ hydrogen-helium winds are not possible for solar or sub-solar metallicity white dwarfs and only a weak metallic wind would be possible (note that in astronomy, "metal" tends to refer to any element heavier ...


3

The term "superficial" means "on the surface," so "superficial gravity" is the same as surface gravity. As @pela pointed out in the comments, the author of the article is Portuguese and in that language the word for surface is 'superficie.'


3

There is the unusual white dwarf RX J0439.8−6809. It seems to be a carbon-oxygen white dwarf with a temperature of around 250,000 K! It is 9200 pc away. You might want to look for other PG 1159 stars to see how far they can be detected.


3

Whether a white dwarf responds to the accretion of material by exploding or collapsing depends on the competition between energy being released in fusion reactions and energy being locked away by endothermic electron capture (neutronisation) reactions. It is thought that most white dwarfs of moderate mass have a C/O composition. They will need to accrete a ...


3

There are a variety of white dwarfs with various compositions, and analysing how they detonate in a supernova (or not) is an topic under investigation. A simple model, described in "How is the first detonation in Supernove type Ia triggered?" is of a helium shell initially igniting and that setting off the carbon in the core. In this type of Type 1a ...


3

I think Aabaakawad's link gives a complete answer, but to give an astronomy for dummies answer, there's nothing about a white dwarf that causes a planet's orbit to decay at least, not directly. Your article (I've pulled quote below the caption): Slowly the object will disintegrate, leaving a dusting of metals on the surface of the star. That's only ...


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