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black dwarf

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The theoretical celestial object that remains after a white dwarf has used up all of its fuel and cooled off completely to a solid mass of extremely dense, cold carbon. A white dwarf will eventually become a black dwarf unless it has a companion star from which it can take sufficient mass to pass the Chandrasekhar limit and collapse into a neutron star or black hole. No black dwarf has ever been observed. Because the estimated cooling time for a white dwarf is in the trillions of years, it is unlikely that there are many, if any, black dwarfs in our universe, which is only 12 to 18 billion years old. See Note at dwarf star.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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