(Submitted May 12, 2005)
I am interested in the time it takes a red giant to become a white dwarf?
Specifically, I am thinking about the Sirius mystery concerning the ancient
records of Sirius as a red star. Although most articles I have found say
that it is impossible, under our current stellar evolutionary model, for it
to have evolved into a white dwarf, no literature that I have found explains
exactly the time needed for it to have become a white dwarf.
The answer to your question likely depends on the mass of the star in
question. However, if we consider the Sun, then according to a timeline
posted by John Baez, a mathematical physicist at the University of
California, it will take about 400 million years for the Sun to go from
red giant to white dwarf.
You can see his timelines at the following web page:
We hope this helps!
Barbara & Veronica
For the Ask a High Energy Astronomer team