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I have been reading about white dwarfs, whose radius-mass relation is: $R \sim M^{-1/3}$ because of the degeneracy pressure. Could anyone provide me with a qualitative explanation of this relation? I am not capable of understanding how radius decreases as mass increases. Thanks.

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  • $\begingroup$ By what mechanism can the radius increase? Assume the added material is cold and has no kinetic energy. $\endgroup$ – ProfRob Feb 26 '20 at 20:52
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The effect is not limited to degenerate matter. Gas giant planets behave the same at mass about Jupiter and above.

Adding mass, you get two effects: you increase gravity that compresses the matter and you increase the amount of matter that piles up. Both effects are profoundly non-linear and interdependent. In some mass intervals increasing gravity overcomes the increased "piling up".

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