|White dwarf stars and the Chandrasekhar limit|
|This page contains my Masters in Physics thesis.
DePaul University - 1995
Please send comments and questions to - Dave Gentile
|According to modern theories of stellar evolution, white dwarves are the last stage of evolution for all stars with less than 4 times the mass of the sun. These stars are in an equilibrium state, between the force of gravity pulling inward, and the pressure from degenerate electrons pushing outward. In 1931 Chandrasekhar showed that as a white dwarf became more massive, and the electrons that supported its weight became relativistic, there would be a point beyond which the degeneracy pressure would be insufficient to support the star. This mass is approximately 1.4 times the mass of the sun, it is known as the Chandrasekhar limit.
In this paper I will discuss the history of the discovery, and its importance in astrophysics, then derive in detail the Chandrasekhar limit, including some of the refinements that have been made since Chandrasekhar's original paper.
|PDF version - White dwarf stars and the Chandrasekhar limit
Word version - White dwarf stars and the Chandrasekhar limit
Note - the main title page, the title page to section 3, and some graphs from the appendix are missing.