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Chandrasekhar limit
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The Chandrasekhar limit ({{IPAc-en|tʃ|ʌ|n|d|r|ə|ˈ|ʃ|eɪ|k|ər}}) is the maximum mass of a stable white dwarf star. The currently accepted value of the Chandrasekhar limit is about {{Solar mass|1.4|link=y}} ({{val|2.765e30|u=kg}}).BOOK, S. W., Hawking, Stephen Hawking, W., Israel, Werner Israel, Three Hundred Years of Gravitation, 1989, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 0-521-37976-8, 1st pbk. corrected, BOOK, 55, How A Supernova Explodes, Hans A., Bethe, Gerald, Brown, Formation And Evolution of Black Holes in the Galaxy: Selected Papers with Commentary, Hans A., Bethe, Gerald, Brown, Chang-Hwan, Lee, River Edge, NJ, World Scientific, 2003, 981-238-250-X, JOURNAL, Mazzali, P. A., Röpke, F. K., Benetti, S., Hillebrandt, W., A Common Explosion Mechanism for Type Ia Supernovae, 10.1126/science.1136259, Science, 315, 5813, 825–828, 2007, 17289993, astro-ph/0702351v1, PDF, 2007Sci...315..825M, White dwarfs resist gravitational collapse primarily through electron degeneracy pressure (compare main sequence stars, which resist collapse through thermal pressure). The Chandrasekhar limit is the mass above which electron degeneracy pressure in the star's core is insufficient to balance the star's own gravitational self-attraction. Consequently, a white dwarf with a mass greater than the limit is subject to further gravitational collapse, evolving into a different type of stellar remnant, such as a neutron star or black hole. Those with masses under the limit remain stable as white dwarfs.Sean Carroll, Ph.D., Caltech, 2007, The Teaching Company, Dark Matter, Dark Energy: The Dark Side of the Universe, Guidebook Part 2 page 44, Accessed Oct. 7, 2013, "...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..."The limit was named after Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Indian astrophysicist who improved upon the accuracy of the calculation in 1930, at the age of 20, in India by calculating the limit for a polytrope model of a star in hydrostatic equilibrium, and comparing his limit to the earlier limit found by E. C. Stoner for a uniform density star. Importantly, the existence of a limit, based on the conceptual breakthrough of combining relativity with Fermi degeneracy, was indeed first established in separate papers published by Wilhelm Anderson and E. C. Stoner in 1929. The limit was initially ignored by the community of scientists because such a limit would logically require the existence of black holes, which were considered a scientific impossibility at the time. That the roles of Stoner and Anderson are often forgotten in the astronomy community has been noted.Eric G. Blackman, "Giants of physics found white-dwarf mass limits", Nature 440, 148 (2006) Michael Nauenberg, "Edmund C. Stoner and the Discovery of the Maximum Mass of White Dwarfs,"Journal for the History of Astronomy, Vol. 39, p. 297-312, (2008)

Physics

Image:WhiteDwarf mass-radius en.svg|thumb|300px|right|Radius–mass relations for a model white dwarf. The green curve uses the general pressure law for an ideal Fermi gas, while the blue curve is for a non-relativistic ideal Fermi gas. The black line marks the ultrarelativistic limitultrarelativistic limitElectron degeneracy pressure is a quantum-mechanical effect arising from the Pauli exclusion principle. Since electrons are fermions, no two electrons can be in the same state, so not all electrons can be in the minimum-energy level. Rather, electrons must occupy a band of energy levels. Compression of the electron gas increases the number of electrons in a given volume and raises the maximum energy level in the occupied band. Therefore, the energy of the electrons increases on compression, so pressure must be exerted on the electron gas to compress it, producing electron degeneracy pressure. With sufficient compression, electrons are forced into nuclei in the process of electron capture, relieving the pressure.In the nonrelativistic case, electron degeneracy pressure gives rise to an equation of state of the form {{math|P {{=}} K1ρ{{sfrac|5|3}}}}, where {{mvar|P}} is the pressure, {{mvar|ρ}} is the mass density, and {{math|K1}} is a constant. Solving the hydrostatic equation leads to a model white dwarf that is a polytrope of index {{sfrac|3|2}} – and therefore has radius inversely proportional to the cube root of its mass, and volume inversely proportional to its mass.JOURNAL, Chandrasekhar, S., 1931, The Density of White Dwarf Stars, Philosophical Magazine, 11, 592–596, 10.1080/14786443109461710, As the mass of a model white dwarf increases, the typical energies to which degeneracy pressure forces the electrons are no longer negligible relative to their rest masses. The velocities of the electrons approach the speed of light, and special relativity must be taken into account. In the strongly relativistic limit, the equation of state takes the form {{math|P {{=}} K2ρ{{sfrac|4|3}}}}. This yields a polytrope of index 3, which has a total mass, {{math|Mlimit}} say, depending only on {{math|K2}}.JOURNAL, 1931, The Maximum Mass of Ideal White Dwarfs, 10.1086/143324, Astrophysical Journal, 74, 81–82, 1931ApJ....74...81C, Chandrasekhar, S., For a fully relativistic treatment, the equation of state used interpolates between the equations {{math|P {{=}} K1ρ{{sfrac|5|3}}}} for small {{mvar|ρ}} and {{math|P {{=}} K2ρ{{sfrac|4|3}}}} for large {{mvar|ρ}}. When this is done, the model radius still decreases with mass, but becomes zero at {{math|Mlimit}}. This is the Chandrasekhar limit. The curves of radius against mass for the non-relativistic and relativistic models are shown in the graph. They are colored blue and green, respectively. {{math|μe}} has been set equal to 2. Radius is measured in standard solar radiiStandards for Astronomical Catalogues, Version 2.0, section 3.2.2, web page, accessed 12-I-2007. or kilometers, and mass in standard solar masses.Calculated values for the limit vary depending on the nuclear composition of the mass. ChandrasekharJOURNAL, Chandrasekhar, S., 1931, The Highly Collapsed Configurations of a Stellar Mass, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 91, 456–466, 1931MNRAS..91..456C, 10.1093/mnras/91.5.456, , eq. (36),JOURNAL, Chandrasekhar, S., 1935, The Highly Collapsed Configurations of a Stellar Mass (second paper), Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 95, 207–225, 1935MNRAS..95..207C, 10.1093/mnras/95.3.207, , eq. (58),On Stars, Their Evolution and Their Stability, Nobel Prize lecture, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, December 8, 1983., eq. (43) gives the following expression, based on the equation of state for an ideal Fermi gas:
M_{rm limit} = frac{omega_3^0 sqrt{3pi}}{2}left ( frac{hbar c}{G}right )^frac32frac{1}{(mu_text{e} m_text{H})^2}
where: As {{math|{{sqrt|ħc/G}}}} is the Planck mass, the limit is of the order of
frac{M_text{Pl}^3}{m_text{H}^2}
A more accurate value of the limit than that given by this simple model requires adjusting for various factors, including electrostatic interactions between the electrons and nuclei and effects caused by nonzero temperature.JOURNAL, Timmes, F. X., Woosley, S. E., Weaver, Thomas A., 1996, The Neutron Star and Black Hole Initial Mass Function, Astrophysical Journal, 457, 834–843, 1996ApJ...457..834T, 10.1086/176778, astro-ph/9510136, Lieb and YauJOURNAL, Lieb, Elliott H., Yau, Horng-Tzer, 1987, A rigorous examination of the Chandrasekhar theory of stellar collapse, Astrophysical Journal, 323, 140–144, 1987ApJ...323..140L, 10.1086/165813, have given a rigorous derivation of the limit from a relativistic many-particle Schrödinger equation.

History

In 1926, the British physicist Ralph H. Fowler observed that the relationship between the density, energy, and temperature of white dwarfs could be explained by viewing them as a gas of nonrelativistic, non-interacting electrons and nuclei that obey Fermi–Dirac statistics.JOURNAL, Fowler, R. H., 1926, On Dense Matter, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 87, 114–122, 1926MNRAS..87..114F, 10.1093/mnras/87.2.114, This Fermi gas model was then used by the British physicist Edmund Clifton Stoner in 1929 to calculate the relationship among the mass, radius, and density of white dwarfs, assuming they were homogeneous spheres.JOURNAL, Stoner, Edmund C., 1929, The Limiting Density of White Dwarf Stars, Philosophical Magazine, 7, 63–70, 10.1080/14786440108564713, Wilhelm Anderson applied a relativistic correction to this model, giving rise to a maximum possible mass of approximately {{val|1.37e30|u=kg}}.JOURNAL, 10.1007/BF01340146, 56, Uber die Grenzdichte der Materie und der Energie, 1929, Zeitschrift für Physik, 851–856, Anderson, Wilhelm, 1929ZPhy...56..851A, In 1930, Stoner derived the internal energy–density equation of state for a Fermi gas, and was then able to treat the mass–radius relationship in a fully relativistic manner, giving a limiting mass of approximately {{val|2.19e30|u=kg}} (for {{math|μe {{=}} 2.5}}).JOURNAL, Stoner, Edmund C., 1930, The Equilibrium of Dense Stars, Philosophical Magazine, 9, 944–963, Stoner went on to derive the pressure–density equation of state, which he published in 1932.JOURNAL, Stoner, E. C., 1932, The minimum pressure of a degenerate electron gas, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 92, 651–661, 1932MNRAS..92..651S, 10.1093/mnras/92.7.651, These equations of state were also previously published by the Soviet physicist Yakov Frenkel in 1928, together with some other remarks on the physics of degenerate matter.JOURNAL, 10.1007/BF01328867, 50, Anwendung der Pauli-Fermischen Elektronengastheorie auf das Problem der Kohäsionskräfte, 1928, Zeitschrift für Physik, 234–248, Frenkel, J., 1928ZPhy...50..234F, . Frenkel's work, however, was ignored by the astronomical and astrophysical community.JOURNAL, Yakovlev, D. G., 1994, The article by Ya I Frenkel' on 'binding forces' and the theory of white dwarfs, Physics Uspekhi, 37, 6, 609–612, 1994PhyU...37..609Y, 10.1070/pu1994v037n06abeh000031, A series of papers published between 1931 and 1935 had its beginning on a trip from India to England in 1930, where the Indian physicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar worked on the calculation of the statistics of a degenerate Fermi gas.Chandrasekhar's biographical memoir at the National Academy of Sciences, web page, accessed 12-01-2007. In these papers, Chandrasekhar solved the hydrostatic equation together with the nonrelativistic Fermi gas equation of state, and also treated the case of a relativistic Fermi gas, giving rise to the value of the limit shown above.JOURNAL, Chandrasekhar, S., 1934, Stellar Configurations with degenerate Cores, The Observatory, 57, 373–377, 1934Obs....57..373C, Chandrasekhar reviews this work in his Nobel Prize lecture. This value was also computed in 1932 by the Soviet physicist Lev Davidovich Landau,On the Theory of Stars, in Collected Papers of L. D. Landau, ed. and with an introduction by D. ter Haar, New York: Gordon and Breach, 1965; originally published in Phys. Z. Sowjet. 1 (1932), 285. who, however, did not apply it to white dwarfs.Chandrasekhar's work on the limit aroused controversy, owing to the opposition of the British astrophysicist Arthur Eddington. Eddington was aware that the existence of black holes was theoretically possible, and also realized that the existence of the limit made their formation possible. However, he was unwilling to accept that this could happen. After a talk by Chandrasekhar on the limit in 1935, he replied:}}Eddington's proposed solution to the perceived problem was to modify relativistic mechanics so as to make the law {{math|P {{=}} K1ρ{{sfrac|5|3}}}} universally applicable, even for large {{mvar|ρ}}.JOURNAL, Eddington, A. S., 1935, On "Relativistic Degeneracy", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 95, 194–206, 1935MNRAS..95..194E, 10.1093/mnras/95.3.194a, Although Niels Bohr, Fowler, Wolfgang Pauli, and other physicists agreed with Chandrasekhar's analysis, at the time, owing to Eddington's status, they were unwilling to publicly support Chandrasekhar.Empire of the Stars: Obsession, Friendship, and Betrayal in the Quest for Black Holes, Arthur I. Miller, Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2005, {{ISBN|0-618-34151-X}}; reviewed at The Guardian: The battle of black holes., pp. 110–111 Through the rest of his life, Eddington held to his position in his writings,JOURNAL, 1935, The International Astronomical Union meeting in Paris, 1935, The Observatory, 58, 257–265 [259], 1935Obs....58..257., JOURNAL, Eddington, A. S., 1935, Note on "Relativistic Degeneracy", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 96, 20–21, 1935MNRAS..96...20E, 10.1093/mnras/96.1.20, JOURNAL, Eddington, Arthur, 1935, The Pressure of a Degenerate Electron Gas and Related Problems, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, 152, 253–272, 96515, 10.1098/rspa.1935.0190, 1935RSPSA.152..253E, Relativity Theory of Protons and Electrons, Sir Arthur Eddington, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1936, chapter 13.JOURNAL, Eddington, A. S., 1940, The physics of white dwarf matter, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 100, 582–594, 1940MNRAS.100..582E, 10.1093/mnras/100.8.582, including his work on his fundamental theory.Fundamental Theory, Sir A. S. Eddington, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946, §43–45. The drama associated with this disagreement is one of the main themes of Empire of the Stars, Arthur I. Miller's biography of Chandrasekhar. In Miller's view:}}

Applications

The core of a star is kept from collapsing by the heat generated by the fusion of nuclei of lighter elements into heavier ones. At various stages of stellar evolution, the nuclei required for this process are exhausted, and the core collapses, causing it to become denser and hotter. A critical situation arises when iron accumulates in the core, since iron nuclei are incapable of generating further energy through fusion. If the core becomes sufficiently dense, electron degeneracy pressure will play a significant part in stabilizing it against gravitational collapse.JOURNAL, Woosley, S. E., Heger, A., Weaver, T. A., 2002, The evolution and explosion of massive stars, Reviews of Modern Physics, 74, 4, 1015–1071, 2002RvMP...74.1015W, 10.1103/revmodphys.74.1015, If a main-sequence star is not too massive (less than approximately 8 solar masses), it eventually sheds enough mass to form a white dwarf having mass below the Chandrasekhar limit, which consists of the former core of the star. For more-massive stars, electron degeneracy pressure does not keep the iron core from collapsing to very great density, leading to formation of a neutron star, black hole, or, speculatively, a quark star. (For very massive, low-metallicity stars, it is also possible that instabilities destroy the star completely.)JOURNAL, Koester, D., Reimers, D., 1996, White dwarfs in open clusters. VIII. NGC 2516: a test for the mass-radius and initial-final mass relations, Astronomy and Astrophysics, 313, 810–814, 1996A&A...313..810K, Kurtis A. Williams, M. Bolte, and Detlev Koester 2004 An Empirical Initial-Final Mass Relation from Hot, Massive White Dwarfs in NGC 2168 (M35), Astrophysical Journal 615, pp. L49–L52 arXiv astro-ph/0409447.JOURNAL, Heger, A., Fryer, C. L., Woosley, S. E., Langer, N., Hartmann, D. H., 2003, How Massive Single Stars End Their Life, Astrophysical Journal, 591, 288–300, 2003ApJ...591..288H, 10.1086/375341, astro-ph/0212469, JOURNAL, Schaffner-Bielich, Jürgen, 2005, Strange quark matter in stars: a general overview], astro-ph/0412215, Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics, 31, S651–S657, 10.1088/0954-3899/31/6/004, 2005JPhG...31S.651S, During the collapse, neutrons are formed by the capture of electrons by protons in the process of electron capture, leading to the emission of neutrinos., pp. 1046–1047. The decrease in gravitational potential energy of the collapsing core releases a large amount of energy on the order of 1046 joules (100 foes). Most of this energy is carried away by the emitted neutrinos.JOURNAL, Lattimer, J. M., Prakash, M., The Physics of Neutron Stars, astro-ph/0405262, Science, 304, 5670, 536–542, 10.1126/science.1090720, 2004Sci...304..536L, This process is believed responsible for supernovae of types Ib, Ic, and II.Type Ia supernovae derive their energy from runaway fusion of the nuclei in the interior of a white dwarf. This fate may befall carbon–oxygen white dwarfs that accrete matter from a companion giant star, leading to a steadily increasing mass. As the white dwarf's mass approaches the Chandrasekhar limit, its central density increases, and, as a result of compressional heating, its temperature also increases. This eventually ignites nuclear fusion reactions, leading to an immediate carbon detonation, which disrupts the star and causes the supernova.JOURNAL, Hillebrandt, Wolfgang, Niemeyer, Jens C., 2000, Type IA Supernova Explosion Models, Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 38, 191–230, 10.1146/annurev.astro.38.1.191, 2000ARA&A..38..191H, astro-ph/0006305, , §5.1.2A strong indication of the reliability of Chandrasekhar's formula is that the absolute magnitudes of supernovae of Type Ia are all approximately the same; at maximum luminosity, {{math|MV}} is approximately −19.3, with a standard deviation of no more than 0.3., (1) A 1-sigma interval therefore represents a factor of less than 2 in luminosity. This seems to indicate that all type Ia supernovae convert approximately the same amount of mass to energy.

Super-Chandrasekhar mass supernovae

In April 2003, the Supernova Legacy Survey observed a type Ia supernova, designated SNLS-03D3bb, in a galaxy approximately 4 billion light years away. According to a group of astronomers at the University of Toronto and elsewhere, the observations of this supernova are best explained by assuming that it arose from a white dwarf that grew to twice the mass of the Sun before exploding. They believe that the star, dubbed the "Champagne Supernova" by University of Oklahoma astronomer David R. Branch, may have been spinning so fast that a centrifugal tendency allowed it to exceed the limit. Alternatively, the supernova may have resulted from the merger of two white dwarfs, so that the limit was only violated momentarily. Nevertheless, they point out that this observation poses a challenge to the use of type Ia supernovae as standard candles.The weirdest Type Ia supernova yet, LBL press release, web page accessed 13-I-2007.Champagne Supernova Challenges Ideas about How Supernovae Work, web page, spacedaily.com, accessed 13-I-2007.JOURNAL, astro-ph/0609616, 10.1038/nature05103, 443, The type Ia supernova SNLS-03D3bb from a super-Chandrasekhar-mass white dwarf star, 2006, Nature, 308–311, Howell, D. Andrew, 2006Natur.443..308H, Since the observation of the Champagne Supernova in 2003, more very bright type Ia supernovae have been observed that are thought to have originated from white dwarfs whose masses exceeded the Chandrasekhar limit. These include SN 2006gz, SN 2007if and SN 2009dc.JOURNAL, Hachisu, Izumi, Kato, M., A single degenerate progenitor model for type Ia supernovae highly exceeding the Chandrasekhar mass limit, 2012ApJ...744...69H, 10.1088/0004-637X/744/1/69, 1106.3510, 744, 1, 2012, The Astrophysical Journal, 76–79 (Article ID 69), etal, The super-Chandrasekhar mass white dwarfs that gave rise to these supernovae are believed to have had masses up to 2.4–2.8 solar masses. One way to potentially explain the problem of the Champagne Supernova was considering it the result of an aspherical explosion of a white dwarf. However, spectropolarimetric observations of SN 2009dc showed it had a polarization smaller than 0.3, making the large asphericity theory unlikely.

Tolman–Oppenheimer–Volkoff limit

After a supernova explosion, a neutron star may be left behind. These objects are even more compact than white dwarfs and are also supported, in part, by degeneracy pressure. A neutron star, however, is so massive and compressed that electrons and protons have combined to form neutrons, and the star is thus supported by neutron degeneracy pressure (as well as short-range repulsive neutron-neutron interactions mediated by the strong force) instead of electron degeneracy pressure. The limiting value for neutron star mass, analogous to the Chandrasekhar limit, is known as the Tolman–Oppenheimer–Volkoff limit.

See also

References

{{Reflist|30em}}

Further reading

{{white dwarf}}{{neutron star}}

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