Physical theory predicts white dwarfs. Are they there?
Where would such objects be on HR diagram?
- Mass around 1 solar mass
- M < 1.4 Msun because of Chandrasekar limit.
- M not to small
- Only stars with M > 1.4 Msun have had time to die.
- Lifetime of Sun ~ 10 x 109 years.
- Age of Milky Way galaxy ~ 14 x 109 years, from turnoff
point of HR diagram in oldest globular clusters.
- Cores could be less massive than original star, but should have
a significant fraction of the original mass.
- Size around 0.01 Rsun.
- Temperature likely high because, being so small, they would take
a long time to cool off.
- R ~ 0.01 Rsun.
- This is a line in HR diagram:
What do we see?
The objects in the lower left of the HR diagram are called ``white
dwarfs.'' Dwarfs because they are small. White because they are still
hot. Their luminosity is low because, even though they are hot, they
are so small. Over billions of years, they will cool off and become
Davison E. Soper, Institute of Theoretical Science,
University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403 USA