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The physics of white dwarf stars.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

A collision where one party collides with another and leaves the scene is considered to be illegal in the United States. If a white dwarf would collide with the sun this would be the exact case. It would take around an hour for the white dwarf to go completely through the sun and then after causing great destruction and changing the chemical and physical properties of the sun it would just continue on its path and leave behind massive destruction. 

The first time a white dwarf and main sequence collisions were studied it was done by Michael Shara, Giora Shaviv and Oded Regev at Tel Aviv University and then Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. These scientists use supercomputers to study the effects of various collisions. They concluded that if a sun like star was hit by a white dwarf 10 million times as dense, the sun like star would be destroyed and only minor warming would take place on the outside of the white dwarf. If the sun were

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Middle



A white dwarf uses electron degeneracy pressure to support itself. It is because of the electron degeneracy pressure that white dwarfs have a small size relative to other types of stars. The star is in the process of collapsing until it reaches a point or equilibrium with the electron degeneracy pressure. 

Degenerate gases are excellent heat conductors. White Dwarfs are 99% degenerate gas and that percent of the star has a temperature of around 10,000,000 K. In the remaining 1% exists on the outer most part of the star and is only 10,000 K. 

Another important physical characteristic is the very strong magnetic field. Zeeman splitting measurements report that the magnetic field may be as strong as 10,000,000 gauss. 

When searching the cosmos white dwarfs are difficult to pinpoint. They are found by their gravitational influence in binary systems. When a white dwarf is a part of a binary system the other star's orbit is noticeably altered. 

A star forms in a giant cloud of interstellar particles. This dust is held together by molecular attractions.
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Conclusion



As the gravitational force increases, the star is fusing more protons, at a faster rate than the star has experienced during its existence. The outward appearance of the star is deceiving, the increase in the amount of energy causes the outer layers of the star to expand and grows both in size and luminosity. At this state the star is called a red giant. 

Red is the most typical color for red giants and is caused by the low temperatures of the gases. Eventually the heat from the core will push the gas completely away. When the helium core is exposed and the outer gases are no longer part of the red giant, the state of the star is named a planetary nebula. 

A white dwarf is result of a planetary nebula of a star made primarily out of carbon. A star made primarily out of neutrons will turn into a neutron star when it collapses.
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