Waves on a white dwarf star

Waves on a white dwarf star

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This image is part of the feature Surfing A White Dwarf

Credit: ALEXANDROS ALEXAKIS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: White dwarf star waves. Image 2 of 3. Computer model of waves on the surface of a white dwarf star, a small, dense star formed at the end of a Sun-like star's life. The arrows show the strength and direction of the wind causing the waves. The largest arrows show winds of up to 2000 kilometres per second. The wind comprises hydrogen drawn to the dwarf from an unseen companion star. Such binary systems are called recurrent novae. Hydrogen builds up on the dwarf's surface, and explodes periodically. Turbulent waves explain why dwarf material is seen in the explosions. This is 0. 035 seconds after the wind started. See images R670/139-141 for a sequence of wave development.

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Keywords: accretion, astronomical, astronomy, astrophysical, astrophysics, binary system, breaking, cosmology, flow, fluid dynamics, gas, model, nova, peculiar, recurrent, science, simulation, star, stellar, surf, surface, turbulence, turbulent, wave, waves, white dwarf, wind

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