Two White Dwarfs with Oxygen-Rich Atmospheres

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Science  12 Nov 2009:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1180228


Stars with masses in the range 7 to 10 M end their lives either as massive white dwarfs or weak type II supernovae, and there are only limited observational constraints of either channel. Here we report the detection of two white dwarfs with large photospheric oxygen abundances, implying that they are bare oxygen-neon cores and that they may have descended from the most massive progenitors that avoid core-collapse.