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Homework Help: Electron degeneracy

  1. Jan 8, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    In main sequence stars the electrons have electron degeneracy pressure right?
    But if the material in the centre of the stars acts like an Ideal gas because the star is stable how is this? Are the electrons in the main sequence stars degenerate. If not then how is it that the density of the material in the centre of the star must be less than the critical value for density??????

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 8, 2009 #2


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    I suppose that electrons in main-sequence stars DO "have degeneracy pressure" to the extent that the finite size and energy of the star leads to some interference of the electron wave-functions. However, perhaps you are confusing main sequence with white dwarf. The pressure that supports a main sequence (hydrogen burning) star against gravitational collapse is primarily radiation pressure, I believe.
  4. Apr 11, 2009 #3
    My understanding is the same....its after a star cools by emitting radiation into space and gradually shrinks in diameter and the density increases that degenerate motion begins to have a significant effect....as electrons are constrained by the gravitational compression of matter particles wavelengths get shorter and shorter and become more energetic...an inevitable consequence of this confinement is degeneracy pressure as explained by quantum mechanics...
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