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Past history of star formation in the solar neighbourhood from the observed white dwarf luminosity distribution


It is known that intermediate and low-mass stars evolve finally to white dwarfs of mass characteristically centred around 0.6M . The observed luminosity distribution and the theoretical cooling curves of such white dwarfs are used in this work to estimate the rate of formation of these and, hence, of their progenitors (although not uniquely) in the solar neighbourhood as a function of time. It is found that the star formation rate has remained fairly constant over the past 10–12 billion years, and that the observed number density of the local white dwarfs match quite well with the one expected from the mass functions of the local stars.

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Rana, N.C. Past history of star formation in the solar neighbourhood from the observed white dwarf luminosity distribution. Astrophys Space Sci 163, 229–240 (1990).

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  • Formation Rate
  • Past History
  • Star Formation
  • Mass Function
  • White Dwarf