Arthur Stanley Eddington - Can We Survive the Death of the Sun? TV - Lawrence Krauss - The Universe TV - How the Universe Works TV - Stephen Hawking -
We learn about the stars by receiving and interpreting the messages which their light brings to us. The message of the Companion of Sirius when it was decoded ran: ‘I am composed of material 3,000 times denser than anything you have ever come across; a ton of my material would be a little nugget that you could put in a matchbox’. What reply can one make to such a message? The reply which most of us made in 1914 was – ‘Shut up. Don’t talk nonsense.’ Arthur Stanley Eddington, 1927
After the Sun destroys Earth, it burns helium for two billion years, runs out of fuel and collapses into a tiny dim white dwarf star. Can We Survive the Death of the Sun?
A white dwarf in some sense is like a bomb waiting to be lit. There’s a huge amount of energy stored in that star – gravitational energy and nuclear energy. Lawrence Krauss
93,209. When the core of our dying sunlight star is compressed to about the size of the Earth, this so-called electron-degeneracy pressure takes over; gravity can collapse the star no further. It’s left to cool slowly into a bizarre stellar remnant known as a White Dwarf ... A white dwarf is the final stage in the life of a sun-like star. But it’s not quite dead yet ... This will be the fate of our Sun. The Universe s1e10: Life and Death of a Star, History 2007
Slowly it disintegrates; the star is dead. All that remains is an intensely hot dead core – the red giant has become a white dwarf. How the Universe Works s1e4: Stars, Discovery 2010
At the heart of a white dwarf astronomers believe there is a giant crystal of pure diamond. A cosmic diamond thousands of kilometres across. ibid.
The moment the white dwarf star starts to fuse carbon and oxygen into iron it’s doomed. Suddenly the white dwarf explodes. How the Universe Works s1e5: Supernovas
Scientists used to think the expanding universe was slowing down but they couldn’t prove it. Until they found double-star supernovas. Type 1As. They always explode when a white dwarf star reaches exactly 1.4 times the mass of our sun. And their explosions always release exactly the same amount of light. They are the perfect markers to measure distance in space ... But instead they got a huge surprise. ibid.
White dwarfs: small stars that pack a big punch. There are the cooling corpses of stars like our sun, but new research proves white dwarves are one of the driving forces of our universe. How the Universe Works s9e7: Curse of the White Dwarf
About 30% of white dwarves live in a binary system. ibid.
If a star’s mass is less than the Chandrasekhar limit, it can eventually stop contracting and settle down to a possible final state as a ‘white dwarf’ with a radius of a few thousand miles and a density of hundreds of tons per cubic inch ... We observe a large number of these white dwarf stars. Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time p92