‘Astronomers have discovered white dwarf stars with pure carbon atmospheres. These stars possibly evolved in a sequence astronomers didn’t know before.
They may have evolved from stars that are not quite massive enough to explode as supernovae but are just on the borderline. All but the most massive two or three percent of stars eventually die as white dwarfs rather than explode as supernovae.
When a star burns helium, it leaves “ashes” of carbon and oxygen. When its nuclear fuel is exhausted, the star then dies as a white dwarf, which is an extremely dense object that packs the mass of our sun into an object about the size of Earth. Astronomers believe that most white dwarf stars have a core made of carbon and oxygen which is hidden from view by a surrounding atmosphere of hydrogen or helium.
They didn’t expect stars with carbon atmospheres.’