image 20-July-2019 15:24:04

Artist's impression of crystallisation in white dwarf

Date: 09 January 2019
Satellite: Gaia
Copyright: Mark Garlick; University of Warwick; European Research Council

Illustration of a white dwarf, the dead remnant of a star like our Sun, with a crystallised, solid core.

White dwarfs are the remains of medium-sized stars similar to our Sun. Once these stars have burnt all the nuclear fuel in their core, they shed their outer layers, leaving behind a hot core that starts cooling down.

Data captured by ESA's galaxy-mapping spacecraft Gaia has revealed for the first time how white dwarfs turn into solid spheres as the originally hot matter inside their core starts crystallising, becoming solid.

Last Update: 09 January 2019

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