white dwarf

plural white dwarfs

Definition of white dwarf 

: a small hot whitish star of low intrinsic brightness usually with a mass approximately equal to that of the sun but with a density many times larger

Examples of white dwarf in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Astronomers remain convinced white dwarfs—dense, Earth-size remnants of sunlike stars—are the astrophysical culprits behind Type Ia supernovae. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "The Milky Way's Speediest Stars Could Solve a 50-Year-Old Mystery," 9 May 2018 Within 24 hours, Shen’s team found three white dwarfs that might fit the bill. Joshua Sokol, Science | AAAS, "One of the Milky Way’s fastest stars is an invader from another galaxy," 8 May 2018 This duo is in a 327-day orbit with the other white dwarf, which lies much farther away. Mike Wall, NBC News, "Einstein's theory of relativity passes its toughest test yet," 5 July 2018 For small stars like our sun, that stellar remnant is a white dwarf; for the largest stars, that remnant is a black hole. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The Largest Neutron Star Ever, Found With a Clever New Technique," 30 May 2018 The pulsar, which rotates 366 times per second, co-orbits on the interior with one of the white dwarfs; the pair circles a common center of mass every 1.6 Earth days. Mike Wall, NBC News, "Einstein's theory of relativity passes its toughest test yet," 5 July 2018 One white dwarf and the pulsar are orbiting each other every 1.6 days. James Geach, Scientific American, "Triple-Star Test Shows Einstein Was Right, Again," 5 July 2018 An international team of astronomers tested the equivalence principle under extreme conditions: a system composed of two superdense stellar corpses known as white dwarfs and an even denser neutron star. Mike Wall, NBC News, "Einstein's theory of relativity passes its toughest test yet," 5 July 2018 Last week, one group reported the discovery of three white dwarfs—the dying embers of sunlike stars—hurtling through the galaxy at thousands of kilometers per second, perhaps flung out from supernovae explosions. Katie Langin, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: NASA’s carbon monitoring cuts, a cancer drug flop, and the fight over one salmon gene," 11 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'white dwarf.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of white dwarf

1922, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

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The first known use of white dwarf was in 1922

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English Language Learners Definition of white dwarf

astronomy : a star that is at the end of its life and is very hot, small, and dense

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