Science Technology

Extreme’ White Dwarf Sets Cosmic Records For Small Size, Huge Mass

In their death throes, roughly 97 per cent of all stars become a smoldering stellar zombie called a white dwarf, one of the densest objects in the cosmos. A newly discovered white dwarf is being hailed as the most “extreme” one of these on record, cramming a frightful amount of mass into a surprisingly small package. Scientists said on Wednesday this highly magnetized and rapidly rotating white dwarf is 35 per cent more massive than our sun yet boasts a petite diameter only a bit larger than Earth’s moon. That means it has the greatest mass and, counterintuitively, littlest size of any known white dwarf, owing to its tremendous density. Only two other types of objects – black holes and neutron stars – are more compact than white dwarfs. The way this white dwarf, named ZTF J1901+1458, was born also is unusual. It apparently…