Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA
Astronomy 10 learning goal Q8.3
[15 points.] How is it possible that a red dwarf and a white dwarf can have different colors, yet have the same luminosity? Using an H-R diagram, explain your reasoning with Wien's law and/or the Stefan-Boltzmann law.
Solution and grading rubric:
- p = 15/15: Correct. Wien's law: white dwarf is hotter, red dwarf is cooler (can also read this information off of the H-R diagram). The Stefan-Boltzmann law: luminosity proportional to size * (Temperature)^4, such that a tiny, hot white dwarf can have the same luminosity as a (slightly) larger, warm red dwarf.
- r = 12/15:
Nearly correct (explanation weak, unclear or only nearly complete); includes extraneous/tangential information; or has minor errors.
- t = 9/15:
Contains right ideas, but discussion is unclear/incomplete or contains major errors. At least uses an H-R diagram and/or Wien's law to determine that the white dwarf is hotter than the red dwarf.
- v = 6/15:
Limited relevant discussion of supporting evidence of at least some merit, but in an inconsistent or unclear manner.
- x = 3/15:
Implementation/application of ideas, but credit given for effort rather than merit.
- y = 1.5/15:
Irrelevant discussion/effectively blank.
- z = 0/15:
p: 4 students
r: 0 students
t: 3 students
v: 6 students
x: 0 students
y: 0 students
z: 0 students
A sample of a "p" response (from O. G.):