What is the comparison between a white dwarf and a neutron star? Which of these stellar corpses is more common? Why?

1 Answer
Apr 27, 2016

Neutron stars are smaller and more dense. White dwarfs are more common


A white dwarf is the corpse of a low mass star (less than 10 times the mass of the sun). At the end of the stage of being a red giant, the outer core drifts into space leaving a hot dense core called a white dwarf. The gravitational forces are countered by electron degeneracy preventing further gravitational collapse. It has a larger radius than a neuron star.

Neutron stars are the corpse of high mass stars. Unlike in a white dwarf, electron degeneracy is not sufficient to stop further gravitational collapse. The electrons get squashed into the nuclei to form neutrons. The core collapses into either a neutron star or a black hole. Neutron stars are smaller than white dwarfs and much more dense.

There are more low mass stars in the Universe, so it is reasonable to assume white dwarfs are more common