Scientists from La Plata discover the most massive pulsating white dwarf star in the Milky Way

CONICET researchers at the Institute of Astrophysics of La Plata (IALP, CONICET-UNLP) and the United States ddiscovered the most massive pulsating white dwarf star known so farAccording to the scientific journal North American Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

It is about the baptized WD J004917.14−252556.81 que It is located in the Milky Way, 100 parsecs, that is, about 320 light years from Earth and whose awesome diameter is nothing less than 1.3 times the mass of the Sun,

To carry out the investigation, the team used a series of data that were supplied by the gigantic optical telescopes of the astronomical observatories Apache Point Observatory and Gemini.

It should be remembered that white dwarfs are a type of dying starthat is to say, that they exhausted their nuclear fuel and are in the final stage of its evolution. These are objects initially very hot what a van cooling at an extremely slow ratethat house in its interior approximately the same amount of matter as the Sunbut compressed into a size barely larger than Earth.

And, according to what the specialists pointed out, in some cases, when their interior is not in complete balance, these bodies present pulsations or vibrations, with lapses ranging from 100 to 7 thousand secondswhat causes variations in its brightness. Hence, they are known as pulsating white dwarfs, categorize in which, precisely, WD J004917.14−252556.81 falls.

“The importance of studying such massive white dwarf stars –or ultramassiveas they are known in the field of research – through their pulsations lies in the fact that it would be possible, in principle, to know the chemical composition of their nucleiand if these are crystallized, that is, in a solid state, as predicted by the physical theories”, commented Alejandro H. Córsico, CONICET researcher at the IALP.


This, in turn, would provide valuable clues to knowing something about the parent starsthat is, how they were billions of years ago, and how they came to be white dwarfs as they look today”, added who was one of the main people responsible for the discovery.

Finally, the researchers admitted that The study of such massive white dwarf stars could help science to test Einstein’s theory of General Relativity.

Fortunately, there is currently a intense search of this type of objects by researchers from all over the world. In this particular work, we provide the pulsational theoretical models to interpret the properties observed in this star”, concluded Córsico,