White Dwarfs Might Be Less Dead Than We Thought

Artist illustration of crystals forming within a white dwarf. Credit: University of Warwick/Mark Garlick

At the end of their lives, most stars including the Sun will become white dwarfs. After a red dwarf or sun-like star consumes all the hydrogen and helium it can, the remains of the star will collapse under its own weight, shrinking ever more until the quantum pressure of electrons becomes strong enough to counter gravity. White dwarfs begin their days as brilliantly hot embers of degenerate matter and grow ever cooler and dimmer as they age.

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