All astronomers know that white dwarfs are presenting some apparently incredible traits. These stellar corpses are extremely dense, and their gravity is about 350,000 times stronger than the one from Earth. In other words, if somebody somehow gets attracted into a white dwarf, he or she would become thin as an atom when reaching the star’s surface.
But as things usually happen in astronomy, surprises always emerge. Even a white dwarf can be too extreme when it seems like there’s not anything to amaze you further. According to Yahoo! News, a newfound white dwarf turns out to be the most extreme one on record, as it jostles a lot of mass into an incredibly small space.
Meet ZTF J1901+1458
ZTF J1901+1458 is the white dwarf in question, and it’s located at “only” 130 light-years away from Earth. Although the white dwarf is 35% more massive than our Sun, it has a diameter that’s only a little larger than the Moon we all see on the night sky.
Even the way that the newfound white dwarf was born is unusual. Scientists believe that the object is likely the result of a binary star system. When the two stars from the system finished evolving into white dwarfs, they approached each other so much that they’ve merged into a single resulting white dwarf.
Caltech astrophysicist Ilaria Caiazzo is the lead author of the study, and she declared, as cited by Yahoo! News:
This white dwarf is really extreme,
We found an object that is really at the limit of how small and heavy a white dwarf could be.
Caiazzo also believes that with a little bit more combined mass, the ZTF J1901+1458 white dwarf would have become an immense supernova.
The new study was published in the journal Nature.
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