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.