How Your Measuring Tool Was Made Makes A Difference In Cosmology

Last week I wrote about a dawning realization in Cosmology that White Dwarf stars may be older than previously thought. There are likely implications for how this might affect predicted values of distance and age of the regions they live in.

It turns out that there’s another aspect of those stars’ evolution that might throw off the calculation of age.

At a certain point in their aging process a White Dwarf will explode as a
Type Ia SuperNova. Specifically: “When the white dwarf reaches 1.4 solar masses, or about 40 percent more massive than our Sun, a nuclear chain reaction occurs, causing the white dwarf to explode. The resulting light is 5 billion times brighter than the Sun.”

Now the calculation of when that would happen used to be pretty straightforward because ‘we knew the process well’. But we don’t. As my previous post pointed out we are learning more about how these starts age and they aren’t exactly doing what we thought.

Now we find out that the Supernova event can be triggered by the White Dwarf’s companion . . . without having to wait until the WD reaches critical mass by itself.

More rejigging of those stellar measurements likely required . . .

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About xamble

Most things I do involve computers. Nowadays that sounds stupid to hear because everyone uses computers. Except I was saying that before the IBM PC came on the scene. (hint: my first programs were entered on punch cards in an IBM-29) Now I mostly use them. Mostly to provide a community service in my small town. Because I could when it was asked and still can. And I'm a wannabe writer. Various books in various states of incompleteness. A few short stories. Might do more of that.
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