1. They can go supernova. Since many stars circle others in comparatively close proximity, a white dwarf in a binary system can initiate to cannibalise its companion, pulling material away from it. The white dwarf continues to eat matter from the other star until ultimately a critical mass is reached, activating a chain reaction that results in the white dwarf viciously blowing up in a type Ia supernova.
2. Their gravity is 350,000x Earth’s. ‘Degenerate dwarfs’, as they’re otherwise known; no longer produce external pressure via fusion like main-sequence stars, so their huge mass causes them to breakdown and squeeze under gravity. The more mass a white dwarf has, the larger the gravity, the more its matter is compacted and, therefore, the smaller the dwarf is.
3. Many will turn into black dwarfs. A white dwarf is the core of a deceased star and these stellar leftovers slowly cool until they no longer radiate – in other words, they turn into more or less the same temperature as the background of space. At this point, they are termed as ‘black dwarfs’. Though, no black dwarfs exist at present as this process takes trillions of years, many times longer than the present age of our cosmos.
4. A teaspoon of white dwarf matter weighs up 5.5 tons. White dwarfs are enormously dense objects. They have a radius that’s normally about 100 times smaller than our Sun, but have the similar mass. As a result, just a sole teaspoon of white dwarf material would weigh as much as an elephant on Earth.
5. The Sun will one day turn into a white dwarf. The most gigantic stars will ultimately go supernova, but stars will anything from 0.8 to around 10 solar masses will eventually turn into white dwarfs. This comprises over 97% of the Milky Way – most of the stars you can see in the night sky.
This post was written by Usman Abrar. To contact the writer write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Facebook