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.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006

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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
3 Varying Chandrasekhar limit as the postulated main route to SNe Ia
An asteroid falling into a white dwarf might provide enough mass to push a star over the Chandrasekhar limit. Or more likely, Di Stefano says, an asteroid might trigger a thermonuclear explosion in the helium enveloping a lower-mass white dwarf that is well below the limit.
If the Chandrasekhar limit is a law of nature, all Type la super-novae should be almost exactly alike.
This theory usually also assumes the Chandrasekhar limit must be breached to trigger dwarf death.
If a white dwarf accretes enough matter from a companion star to approach the Chandrasekhar limit, its internal temperature and density soar rapidly.
Since 2003, four supernovae have been discovered that were so bright, cosmologists wondered whether their white dwarfs had surpassed the Chandrasekhar limit.
When the white dwarf nears 1.4 solar masses--the famous Chandrasekhar limit beyond which the star cannot resist the pull of its own gravity--runaway thermonuclear reactions blow it apart.
Until now, no white dwarf has ever been observed above the Chandrasekhar limit.
These stellar outbursts are thought to occur when a white dwarf accretes so much material from a binary companion that it reaches the so-called Chandrasekhar limit of 1.4 solar masses, igniting a catastrophic explosion.
Astronomers think that the majority of these explosions, which make a nova seem like a firecracker next to an atomic bomb, are detonated when a white dwarf accretes enough mass to push it over the Chandrasekhar limit. "Since the white dwarf appears very near the limit, it must be possible for a white dwarf in a recurrent nova to accumulate mass from one eruption to another," says Sokoloski.
Most famous was his discovery of the "Chandrasekhar limit." If matter falls onto a 1.44-solar-mass white dwarf--Chandra's critical mass--it triggers an explosion known as a type Ia supernova.
This stellar boundary is known as the Chandrasekhar limit.