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white dwarf

noun, Astronomy
a star, approximately the size of the earth, that has undergone gravitational collapse and is in the final stage of evolution for low-mass stars, beginning hot and white and ending cold and dark (black dwarf)
Origin of white dwarf
1920-25 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for white dwarf
  • Countless dead stars may have planets still orbiting the white dwarf or even long since lost them to lack of gravity.
  • One day the sun will distend into a red giant before it shrinks into a white dwarf.
  • Overall, he said, three minutes would be the fastest a binary white dwarf system could get.
  • When all the gas is released, the leftover core of the dead star is called a white dwarf.
  • One object is already a type of stellar corpse called a white dwarf.
  • If enough material falls onto the white dwarf, the siphoned fuel ignites a thermonuclear explosion.
  • When our sun comes to its ending in five billion years or so, it will fade into a quiescent white dwarf.
  • Most novae are blue and occur when material on a white dwarf star explodes.
  • So its stuck, continues to eat and devours the white dwarf.
  • In other white dwarf news, astronomers have discovered a red dwarf in an extremely tight orbit with a white dwarf.
British Dictionary definitions for white dwarf

white dwarf

one of a large class of small faint stars of enormous density (on average 108 kg/m³) with diameters only about 1 per cent that of the sun, and masses less than the Chandrasekhar limit (about 1.4 solar masses). It is thought to mark the final stage in the evolution of a sun-like star
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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white dwarf in Science
white dwarf  
A small, extremely dense star characterized by high temperature and luminosity. A white dwarf is believed to be in its final stage of evolution, having either used up most of its nuclear fuel in its main-sequence stage, or else moved through a giant stage and shed any remaining fuel in its outer layer as a planetary nebula, leaving only a glowing core. Some 10 percent of all stars in the Milky Way are white dwarfs, but despite their intrinsic luminosity, they are so small that none are visible to the naked eye. See Note at dwarf.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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white dwarf in Culture

white dwarf definition

A kind of star about the size of the Earth. White dwarfs represent a final stage of the life cycle of stars similar to the sun; they are formed when the stars use up their fuel and can no longer support nuclear reactions.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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