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 Saturday, January 23, 2016
Sirius Two dogs that are moving apart — after this. Sunday, January 10, 2016
More Andromeda Galaxy Getting ready to put on a show Thursday, September 17, 2015
Future Outbursts Setting up future outbursts Friday, July 24, 2015
Doomed Stars Two stars with a bright future Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Even Brighter A couple of brilliant ways to die Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Zombie Stars The night of the living dead stars Thursday, July 17, 2014
Dubhe A bright orphan in the Big Dipper Saturday, February 15, 2014
Z Machine IV Astronomy in a test tube Thursday, February 6, 2014
Z Machine III Making a star in a bottle Wednesday, February 5, 2014
EX Hydrae Two small but busy stars Thursday, December 19, 2013
Sirius Rising The right season for the Dog Star Friday, December 6, 2013
Pleiades White Dwarf A star that went gently into the night Saturday, October 12, 2013
‘Medium’ Nova A mid-size stellar explosion Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Planetary Debris Rocky evidence of planetary systems Monday, March 11, 2013
Procyon A pair of stellar light bulbs Friday, February 22, 2013
Bigger Diamonds Real astronomical “sparklers” Friday, January 11, 2013
More Sirius A stellar weight-loss program Sunday, December 30, 2012
Multiple Blasts Multiple explosions from a single star Friday, November 2, 2012
White-Dwarf Planets II Dead stars consume dead planets Wednesday, October 17, 2012
White-Dwarf Planets Close planets around dead stars Tuesday, October 16, 2012
H-R Diagram Drawing the lives of the stars Saturday, July 7, 2012
Star in a Bottle Making a bottleful of starstuff Friday, April 13, 2012
Cosmic Clocks The ticking of cosmic clocks Thursday, April 12, 2012
White Dwarf Quakes Stars that “quake” in the night Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Little Dwarfs The smallest white-dwarf stars Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Stellar Suicide A double suicide among the stars Monday, April 9, 2012
NuSTAR Dead stars tell some important tales Wednesday, March 14, 2012
White Dwarfs III Dead planets around dead stars? Friday, February 3, 2012
White Dwarfs II Stretching the light of a dead star Thursday, February 2, 2012
White Dwarfs Squeezing the heart of a dead star Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Moon and Aldebaran Looking at the Sun’s bright future Sunday, September 18, 2011
Alphard Getting dumped on by a neighbor Sunday, April 24, 2011

Featured Images

Abell 78, a planetary nebula
Last Round Tuesday, July 28, 2015
A discharge of energy from the Z Machine at Sandia National Laboratories
Zapped! Monday, February 3, 2014
Beams of light shine through the Egg Nebula
Stellar Headlights Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Sirius B, the white-dwarf companion to Sirius, compared to the size of Earth
Stellar Afterlife Wednesday, February 1, 2012


©2015 The University of Texas McDonald Observatory