Astronomers discover the most massive pulsating white dwarf star known

The finding was made using data from the APO and Gemini astronomical observatories, which have the largest existing optical telescopes in the world.

A team of CONICET researchers at the Instituto de Astrofísica de La Plata (IALP, CONICET-UNLP), together with colleagues from the United States, managed to discover the most massive pulsating white dwarf star known to date, reaching 1.3 times the mass of the Sun.

White dwarfs are a type of dying stars, which are in the final stage of their evolution. These are initially very hot objects that cool at an extremely slow rate and contain about the same amount of matter as the Sun, but compressed into a size just slightly larger than Earth.

“The importance of studying such massive white dwarf stars through their pulsations lies in the fact that it would be possible, in principle, to know the chemical composition of their nuclei and whether they are crystallized, that is, in a solid state, as predicted by theories physical”, highlighted Alejandro Córsico, IALP researcher and one of the authors of the work to CONICET Press. Finally, he said: “Fortunately, there is currently an intense search for this type of object by researchers from all over the world.” “This, in turn, would provide valuable clues to knowing something about the progenitor stars, that is, what they were like billions of years ago, and how they came to be white dwarfs as they look today,” he concluded.