Astronomers have found an extremely light white dwarf closest to Earth

Astronomers have found the extremely light white dwarf closest to Earth. Its mass is only 0.17 solar masses, according to a study by scientists from Curtin University, published on arXiv.org.

White dwarfs are relatively cold, dull remnants of stellar bodies – such as our Sun. When a star runs out of nuclear fuel, it swells and turns into a huge red giant, and then discards the outer layers. When this process is completed, only a small superdense core remains from the star; its astronomers are called the white dwarf.

When observing with the ANU telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory and analyzing data from the TESS telescope, scientists discovered a record-breaking light white dwarf in the 2MASS J050051.85-093054.9 binary system.

The system is located at a distance of 233 light-years from the Sun. Most likely, it includes two white dwarfs – astronomers at the same time managed to make out only a record-breaking light object weighing about 0.17 solar. His companion is probably a dull white dwarf mass of about 0.3 solar.

The period of revolution of white dwarfs around each other is 9.5 hours. Astronomers speculate that after a few tens of billions of years, white dwarfs will merge – this event will lead to a supernova explosion.

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