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Contact: Elaine Bible
San Francisco State University

Odd White Dwarfs

Caption: Twenty-four unusual stars have been spotted in an ancient swarm of stars in the Milky Way. These white dwarfs, a type of dead star, are made of helium rather than the usual carbon and oxygen, and appear as faint, pale blue stars. This collection of helium-core white dwarfs was discovered by a team including Professor Adrienne Cool of San Francisco State University and Rachel Strickler of UC Santa Cruz. They suggest that thousands of stars in star cluster NGC 6397 are coupled with close companions that interfere with their normal development, resulting in these odd white dwarfs made of helium.

Credit: Jay Anderson / Space Telescope Science Institute

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Related news release: Largest collection of anomalous white dwarfs observed in new Hubble images

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