MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
White dwarf star. Artwork of a white dwarf star (blue/white, centre right) comparing its size to that of the Sun (left) and the Earth (right). A white dwarf is the collapsed core of a star which has exhausted its nuclear fuel. A white dwarf is extremely dense, containing the mass of a Sun- sized star in a sphere not much larger than the Earth. Immediately after its formation it is extremely hot. As it has no source of energy production within it, however, it gradually cools down, ultimately becoming a black dwarf. This process takes a very long time, and it is thought the universe is not yet old enough for any black dwarfs to exist.
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