The Chandrasekhar limit is the maximum mass of a stable white dwarf star. Building on work by others, the Indian physicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar worked on the calculation. He published series of papers between 1931 and 1935. The Chandrasekhar limit is about 1.4 times the mass of the Sun.
The Chandrasekhar limit is the mass above which electron degeneracy pressure in the star's core is not enough to balance the star's own gravitational self-attraction. Then, white dwarfs with masses over the limit would gravitationally collapse into a neutron star or black hole. However, white dwarfs usually explode before they undergo collapse. Those with masses under the limit remain stable as white dwarfs.
References[change | change source]
- "Introducing Chandrasekhar limit". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://global.britannica.com/topic/Chandrasekhar-limit. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
- Chandrasekhar's biographical memoir at the National Academy of Sciences, web page, accessed 12-I-2007.
- On stars, their evolution and their stability, Nobel Prize lecture, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, December 8, 1983.
- Sean Carroll 2007. The Teaching Company: Dark matter, dark energy: the dark side of the universe, Guidebook Part 2 page 44. "...Chandrasekhar limit: The maximum mass of a white dwarf star, about 1.4 times the mass of the Sun. Above this mass, the gravitational pull becomes too great, and the star must collapse to a neutron star or black hole..."
- Electron degeneracy pressure is what makes solids seem solid.