List of white dwarfs

This is a list of exceptional white dwarfs.


These were the first white dwarfs discovered fitting these conditions

Title Star Date Data Comments Notes Refs
First discovered Sirius B 1852 Sirius system Sirius B is also the nearest white dwarf (as of 2005) [1][2]
First found in a binary star system
First double white dwarf system LDS 275 1944 L 462-56 system [3]
First solitary white dwarf
First white dwarf in a planetary system
First white dwarf with a planet WD B1620-26 2003 PSR B1620-26 b (planet) This planet is a circumbinary planet, which circles both stars in the PSR B1620-26 system [4][5]
First white dwarf with an orbiting planet As of 2013, no planets have been found orbiting only a white dwarf [6]
First white dwarf that is a pulsar AR Scorpii A 2016 The star is in a binary system with a red dwarf [7]


These are the white dwarfs which are currently known to fit these conditions

Title Star Date Data Comments Notes Refs
Nearest Sirius B 1852 8.6 ly (2.6 pc) Sirius B is also the first white dwarf discovered. [1][2]
Furthest SN UDS10Wil progenitor 2013 z=1.914 SN Wilson is a type-Ia supernova whose progenitor was a white dwarf [8][9][10]
Farthest extant
Oldest WD 0346+246
SDSS J110217.48+411315.4
2012 12 Gy (tied)
Youngest SDSS J0003+0718 2011 ~13 My provisional estimate
Highest surface temperature RX J0439.8−6809 2015 250,000 K (250,000 °C; 450,000 °F) This star is located in the Milky Way's galactic halo, in the field of the Large Magellanic Cloud [11][12]
Lowest surface temperature PSR J2222-0137 B 2014 3,000 K (2,700 C°, 4,892 F°) [13]
Most luminous
Least luminous PSR J2222-0137 B 2014 too dim to observe
Brightest apparent Sirius B 1852 8.44 (V)
Dimmest apparent PSR J2222-0137 B 2014 too dim to observe
Most massive RE J0317-853 1998 1.35 M
Least massive SDSS J091709.55+463821.8 2007 0.17 M
Largest Z Andromedae 0.265±0.095 R
Smallest GRW +70 8247 0.005 R


10 nearest white dwarfs
Star Distance Comments Notes Refs
Sirius B 8.58 ly (2.63 pc) Sirius B is also the first white dwarf discovered. It is part of the Sirius system. [1][2][14][15]
Procyon B 11.43 ly (3.50 pc) Part of Procyon system [14][15]
van Maanen's Star 14.04 ly (4.30 pc) [14][15]
GJ 440 15.09 ly (4.63 pc) [14]
40 Eridani B 16.25 ly (4.98 pc) Part of 40 Eridani system [14][15]
Stein 2051 B 18.06 ly (5.54 pc) Part of Stein 2051 system [14][15]
LP 44-113 20.0 ly (6.1 pc) [15]
G 99-44 20.9 ly (6.4 pc) [15]
L 97-12 25.8 ly (7.9 pc) [15]
Wolf 489 26.7 ly (8.2 pc) [15]
Timeline of nearest white dwarf recordholders
Star Date Distance Comments Notes Refs
Sirius B 1852— 8.6 ly (2.6 pc) Sirius B is also the first white dwarf discovered [1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d Atlas of the Universe, "The Universe within 12.5 Light Years: The Nearest Stars", Richard Powell, 30 July 2006 (accessed 2010-11-01)
  2. ^ a b c d BBC News, "Hubble finds mass of white dwarf", Christine McGourty, 14 December 2005 (accessed 2010-11-01)
  3. ^ W. J. Luyten (September 1944). "Note on the Double White Dwarf L 462-56 = LDS 275". Astrophysical Journal. 100: 202. Bibcode:1944ApJ...100..202L. doi:10.1086/144658.
  4. ^ Steinn Sigurdsson; Harvey B. Richer; Brad M. Hansen; Ingrid H. Stairs; Stephen E. Thorsett (July 2003). "A Young White Dwarf Companion to Pulsar B1620-26: Evidence for Early Planet Formation". Science. 301 (5630): 193–196. arXiv:astro-ph/0307339. Bibcode:2003Sci...301..193S. doi:10.1126/science.1086326. PMID 12855802.
  5. ^ "Looking for planets around white dwarfs". Professor Astronomy. 20 August 2010.
  6. ^ Amanda Doyle (25 February 2013). "Detecting Life on Planets that Orbit White Dwarf Stars". AstroBiology Magazine.
  7. ^ Hambsch, Franz-Josef. "Amateurs Help Discover Pulsing White Dwarf". Sky and Telescope.
  8. ^ Jason Major (5 April 2013). "Hubble Spots the Most Distant Supernova Ever". Discovery Channel.
  9. ^ "CANDELS Finds the Most Distant Type Ia Supernova Yet Observed". Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS). 23 April 2013.
  10. ^ David O. Jones; Steven A. Rodney; Adam G. Riess; Bahram Mobasher; Tomas Dahlen; Curtis McCully; Teddy F. Frederiksen; Stefano Casertano; Jens Hjorth; Charles R. Keeton; Anton Koekemoer; Louis-Gregory Strolger; Tommy G. Wiklind; Peter Challis; Or Graur; Brian Hayden; Brandon Patel; Benjamin J. Weiner; Alexei V. Filippenko; Peter Garnavich; Saurabh W. Jha; Robert P. Kirshner; Henry C. Ferguson; Norman A. Grogin; Dale Kocevski (2 April 2013). "The Discovery of the Most Distant Known Type Ia Supernova at Redshift 1.914". The Astrophysical Journal (published May 2013). 768 (2): 166. arXiv:1304.0768. Bibcode:2013ApJ...768..166J. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/768/2/166. 166.
  11. ^ Universitaet Tübingen (24 November 2015). "The hottest white dwarf in the Galaxy". Science Daily.
  12. ^ K. Werner; T. Rauch (29 September 2015). "Analysis of HST/COS spectra of the bare C–O stellar core H1504+65 and a high-velocity twin in the Galactic halo". Astronomy and Astrophysics (published December 2015). 584: A19. arXiv:1509.08942. Bibcode:2015A&A...584A..19W. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201527261. A19.
  13. ^ Kaplan, David L.; Boyles, Jason; Dunlap, Bart H.; Tendulkar, Shriharsh P.; Deller, Adam T.; Ransom, Scott M.; McLaughlin, Maura A.; Lorimer, Duncan R.; Stairs, Ingrid H. (2014-07-01). "A 1.05 M ☉ Companion to PSR J2222-0137: The Coolest Known White Dwarf?". The Astrophysical Journal. 789: 119. arXiv:1406.0488. Bibcode:2014ApJ...789..119K. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/789/2/119. ISSN 0004-637X.
  14. ^ a b c d e f David Taylor (2012). "White Dwarf Stars Near The Earth" (PDF). The Life and Death of Stars. Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences - Northwestern University.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i "White dwarfs within 10 parsecs". Sol Station. 2011.

See also

Lists of astronomical objects

This is a list of lists, grouped by type of astronomical object.

Lists of stars

The following are lists of stars. These are astronomical objects that spend some portion of their existence generating energy through thermonuclear fusion.

White dwarf

A white dwarf, also called a degenerate dwarf, is a stellar core remnant composed mostly of electron-degenerate matter. A white dwarf is very dense: its mass is comparable to that of the Sun, while its volume is comparable to that of Earth. A white dwarf's faint luminosity comes from the emission of stored thermal energy; no fusion takes place in a white dwarf. The nearest known white dwarf is Sirius B, at 8.6 light years, the smaller component of the Sirius binary star. There are currently thought to be eight white dwarfs among the hundred star systems nearest the Sun. The unusual faintness of white dwarfs was first recognized in 1910. The name white dwarf was coined by Willem Luyten in 1922.

White dwarfs are thought to be the final evolutionary state of stars whose mass is not high enough to become a neutron star, that of about 10 solar masses. This includes over 97% of the other stars in the Milky Way., § 1. After the hydrogen-fusing period of a main-sequence star of low or medium mass ends, such a star will expand to a red giant during which it fuses helium to carbon and oxygen in its core by the triple-alpha process. If a red giant has insufficient mass to generate the core temperatures required to fuse carbon (around 1 billion K), an inert mass of carbon and oxygen will build up at its center. After such a star sheds its outer layers and forms a planetary nebula, it will leave behind a core, which is the remnant white dwarf. Usually, white dwarfs are composed of carbon and oxygen. If the mass of the progenitor is between 8 and 10.5 solar masses (M☉), the core temperature will be sufficient to fuse carbon but not neon, in which case an oxygen–neon–magnesium white dwarf may form. Stars of very low mass will not be able to fuse helium, hence, a helium white dwarf may form by mass loss in binary systems.

The material in a white dwarf no longer undergoes fusion reactions, so the star has no source of energy. As a result, it cannot support itself by the heat generated by fusion against gravitational collapse, but is supported only by electron degeneracy pressure, causing it to be extremely dense. The physics of degeneracy yields a maximum mass for a non-rotating white dwarf, the Chandrasekhar limit—approximately 1.44 times of M☉—beyond which it cannot be supported by electron degeneracy pressure. A carbon-oxygen white dwarf that approaches this mass limit, typically by mass transfer from a companion star, may explode as a type Ia supernova via a process known as carbon detonation; SN 1006 is thought to be a famous example.

A white dwarf is very hot when it forms, but because it has no source of energy, it will gradually cool as it radiates its energy. This means that its radiation, which initially has a high color temperature, will lessen and redden with time. Over a very long time, a white dwarf will cool and its material will begin to crystallize, starting with the core. The star's low temperature means it will no longer emit significant heat or light, and it will become a cold black dwarf. Because the length of time it takes for a white dwarf to reach this state is calculated to be longer than the current age of the universe (approximately 13.8 billion years), it is thought that no black dwarfs yet exist. The oldest white dwarfs still radiate at temperatures of a few thousand kelvins.

In binary
Star systems
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