Saturday, April 2, 2016

White Dwarf With Oxygen



The universe keeps on surprising us. A white dwarf star was discovered to have an atmostphere of 99.9 pure oxygen!  White dwarf SDSSJ124043.01+671034.68 or 'dox' is part of a pool of stars about 1,200 light-years from Earth. The news was revealed in the journal article, "A white dwarf with an oxygen atmosphere."  A white dwarf star is what remains of a star which is about the 8 times the size of our Sun after it has 'died.'  These stars are very dense, but not as dense as black holes and neutrons. White dwarfs form as a star begins to shed its outer layers of hydrogen and helium; helium being consumed by the star's fusion. When this happens, gravity takes hold and forces the star to collapse into a very dense sphere of plasma.  

Astronomers and cosmologists are trying to figure out why this dwarf star has oxygen and so much of it since it is only about 60% as heavy as our sun and such a star would not have the capacity to make oxygen using its remaining fuel. This dwarf star is an enigma at the moment.  However, it has been theorized to exist.  Many theories attempt to explain the existence of such a star. One idea posits that the star may have been part of a binary system and collected enough helium to create the oxygen.





Source:

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/352/6281/67

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2016/apr/01/white-dwarf-with-nearly-pure-oxygen-atmosphere-surprises-astronomers

http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/deep-space/a20213/newly-discovered-star-has-an-almost-pure-oxygen-atmosphere/

https://www.rt.com/news/338024-white-dwarf-oxygen-atmosphere/

http://www.theverge.com/2016/3/31/11338590/white-dwarf-star-oxygen-atmosphere-stellar-death

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