Release Images

Release No.: 2007-08
For Release: Monday, April 16, 2007 - 8:00pm

Cosmic Weight Loss: The Lowest Mass White Dwarf

lowest-mass white dwarf

This artist's conception shows the lowest-mass white dwarf known in our galaxy and its companion star, which likely is another white dwarf. The foreground white dwarf underwent a radical weight-loss plan about 500 million years ago, losing mass to its companion. The low-mass white dwarf now weighs only about 17 percent as much as the Sun.

David A. Aguilar (CfA)

lowest mass white dwarf

This photograph from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey shows the lowest mass white dwarf known in the galaxy (marked with an arrow). SDSS J091709.55+463821.8 is about 7,400 lights years away and orbits a close, but invisible, companion star. This image is about 4 arcminutes on a side, showing an area of the sky 1/40 the size of the Full Moon.

SDSS Collaboration