MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration of a black dwarf. A black dwarf is the fate that awaits all white dwarfs. The latter are the remains of the cores of dead stars, such as the Sun, after the stars shed their outer layers during the red giant and planetary nebula phases of evolution. White dwarfs only shine by stored energy - they produce no new light. They are destined to cool down forever, eventually disappearing entirely from the electromagnetic spectrum. They are then called black dwarves. However, the process takes so long - longer than the present age of the universe - that no black dwarves will form for perhaps trillions of years.
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