white dwarves

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:
1920–25

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World English Dictionary
white dwarf
 
n
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 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
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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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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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