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White Dwarfs

The hot, dense core of a once-normal star like the Sun. At the end of such a star’s life, it can no longer produce the nuclear-fusion reactions that power it. Its outer layers drift away into space, while its core collapses into a ball that is as about as massive as the Sun but no bigger than Earth. This is the fate of stars that do not exceed about four to eight times the mass of the Sun. The Sun reaches this stage in a few hundred million to several billion years, depending on the star’s original mass. A white dwarf may spin rapidly, is extremely hot, and may generate a strong magnetic field.

Radio Programs

Procyon The revenge of the scrawny January 23, 2016

Sirius Two dogs that are moving apart — after this. January 10, 2016

More Andromeda Galaxy Getting ready to put on a show September 16, 2015

Future Outbursts Setting up future outbursts July 23, 2015

Doomed Stars Two stars with a bright future June 16, 2015

Even Brighter A couple of brilliant ways to die November 4, 2014

Zombie Stars The night of the living dead stars July 16, 2014

Dubhe A bright orphan in the Big Dipper February 14, 2014

Z Machine IV Astronomy in a test tube February 5, 2014

Z Machine III Making a star in a bottle February 4, 2014

EX Hydrae Two small but busy stars December 18, 2013

Sirius Rising The right season for the Dog Star December 5, 2013

Pleiades White Dwarf A star that went gently into the night October 11, 2013

‘Medium’ Nova A mid-size stellar explosion July 1, 2013

Planetary Debris Rocky evidence of planetary systems March 10, 2013

Procyon A pair of stellar light bulbs February 21, 2013

Bigger Diamonds Real astronomical “sparklers” January 10, 2013

More Sirius A stellar weight-loss program December 29, 2012

Multiple Blasts Multiple explosions from a single star November 1, 2012

White-Dwarf Planets II Dead stars consume dead planets October 16, 2012

White-Dwarf Planets Close planets around dead stars October 15, 2012

H-R Diagram Drawing the lives of the stars July 6, 2012

Star in a Bottle Making a bottleful of starstuff April 12, 2012

Cosmic Clocks The ticking of cosmic clocks April 11, 2012

White Dwarf Quakes Stars that “quake” in the night April 10, 2012

Little Dwarfs The smallest white-dwarf stars April 9, 2012

Stellar Suicide A double suicide among the stars April 8, 2012

NuSTAR Dead stars tell some important tales March 13, 2012

White Dwarfs III Dead planets around dead stars? February 2, 2012

White Dwarfs II Stretching the light of a dead star February 1, 2012

White Dwarfs Squeezing the heart of a dead star January 31, 2012

Moon and Aldebaran Looking at the Sun’s bright future September 17, 2011

Alphard Getting dumped on by a neighbor April 23, 2011

Featured Images

Abell 78, a planetary nebula

Last Round July 28, 2015

A discharge of energy from the Z Machine at Sandia National Laboratories

Zapped! February 3, 2014

Beams of light shine through the Egg Nebula

Stellar Headlights May 1, 2012

Sirius B, the white-dwarf companion to Sirius, compared to the size of Earth

Stellar Afterlife February 1, 2012