Paul Groot: Double white dwarfs

Paul Groot: Double white dwarfs

The origins of dual stars in our universe

Most stars end their lives as White Dwarfs: the burned-out cinder, the former star nucleus. This object is about the size of the earth and its density is enormous: more than a million times the density of water. Some white dwarfs join and form a super compact dual system. Over the course of the stars’ lives, they move closer together and circle around each other. This ‘inspiraling’ process is accompanied by mass transfer, which emits gravitational waves. Depending on its lapse, this mass transfer process leads to a merger into one star, a (supernova) explosion, or a double white dwarf.
At the Radboud University Nijmegen, astronomer Paul Groot studies double white dwarfs. He maps the spatial division, ages, and masses of these extreme duo systems to reconstruct the formation of the double star. This knowledge could be key for gaining new insights into the formation and early history of our galaxy.

 

This video is only available in Dutch.