Chandrasekhar limit


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Related to Chandrasekhar limit: Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

Chandrasekhar limit

(chan-dră-see -ker, chun-dră-say -kar) (Chandrasekhar mass) The limiting mass for a nonrotating white dwarf. It depends slightly on the star's composition, being 1.44 solar masses for a helium white dwarf, dropping to 1.40 solar masses for a carbon composition and 1.11 solar masses for an iron composition. The limit is raised substantially if the white dwarf has a rapidly rotating core. A star whose mass exceeds this limit will be forced to undergo further gravitational collapse to become a neutron star or even a black hole, because its material will be unable to support itself against the force of gravity.

Chandrasekhar limit

[‚chən·drə′shā‚kär ‚lim·ət]
(astrophysics)
A limiting mass of about 1.44 solar masses above which a white dwarf cannot exist in a stable configuration.
References in periodicals archive ?
An asteroid falling into a white dwarf might provide enough mass to push a star over the Chandrasekhar limit.
If the Chandrasekhar limit is a law of nature, all Type la super-novae should be almost exactly alike.
Until recently, it was thought that white dwarfs could not exceed what is known as the Chandrasekhar limit, a critical mass equaling about 1.
Since 2003, four supernovae have been discovered that were so bright, cosmologists wondered whether their white dwarfs had surpassed the Chandrasekhar limit.
Now, Richard Scalzo of Yale, as part of a collaboration of American and French physicists called the Nearby Supernova Factory, has measured the mass of the white dwarf star that resulted in one of these rare supernovae, called SN 2007if, and confirmed that it exceeded the Chandrasekhar limit.