A new discovery by Caltech (Caltech) – published in Nature – bears an all-Italian signature, astrophysics Ellaria Kiazo, to which we owe the disclosure Smallest white dwarf ever identified. A white dwarf typically has Earth-like dimensions – while maintaining a very high density – and represents the final stage of the life of a small, medium-sized star, while ZTF J1901 + 1458 – That’s her name – A little bigger than the moon and barely in diameter 4300 km.
Despite its small size, at the same time it is a white dwarf The highest mass ever recorded in this class of stars, considering that Much more than that of the sun.; Therefore, it is a solid celestial body Two records at once. ZTF J1901 + 1458 was discovered thanks to the joint efforts of Caltech’s Zwicky Transient Facility, the Hale Telescope at Palomar al Keck, and the Gaia and Swift telescopes, as well as a collaboration with Pan-STARRS (Panorama Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System) from the University of Hawaii.
White dwarfs are characterized by their incredibly small size and high mass, which drive the rules governing them in the field of quantum mechanics, and the case of ZTF J1901 + 1458 is particularly interesting because of its small size. Studies of the stars can help reveal some of the mysteries surrounding them.
We do not know the fate of ZTF J1901 + 1458; Among the hypotheses in this field There is a possibility of the star collapsing even more on itself, until it turns into a neutron star. These celestial bodies – At the center of another recent discovery – They also have a very high mass and smaller dimensions, since we are talking about a diameter of about 20 kilometers. Alternatively, the origin of ZTF J1901 + 1458 can be linked to the collision of two other white dwarfs, from which energy was released in the form of gravitational waves or in a supernova. To know more we must deepen his knowledge.
Opening image: artistic representation of ZTF J1901 + 1458 compared to the moon, by Giuseppe Baresi