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ZFBoxcar
16 Feb 04,, 20:44
Diamond star thrills astronomers

By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor



A diamond that is almost forever
Twinkling in the sky is a diamond star of 10 billion trillion trillion carats, astronomers have discovered.
The cosmic diamond is a chunk of crystallised carbon, 1,500 km across, some 50 light-years from the Earth in the constellation Centaurus.

It's the compressed heart of an old star that was once bright like our Sun but has since faded and shrunk.

Astronomers have decided to call the star "Lucy," after the Beatles song, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."

Lucy in the sky

"You would need a jeweller's loupe the size of the Sun to grade this diamond!" says astronomer Travis Metcalfe of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who led the team of researchers that discovered it.

The diamond star completely outclasses the largest diamond on Earth, the 530-carat Star of Africa which resides in the Crown Jewels of England. The Star of Africa was cut from the largest diamond ever found on Earth, a measly 3,100-carat gem.

The huge cosmic diamond - technically known as BPM 37093 - is actually a crystallised white dwarf. A white dwarf is the hot core of a star, left over after the star uses up its nuclear fuel and dies. It is made mostly of carbon.

For more than four decades, astronomers have thought that the interiors of white dwarfs crystallised, but obtaining direct evidence became possible only recently.

The white dwarf is not only radiant but also rings like a gigantic gong, undergoing constant pulsations.

"By measuring those pulsations, we were able to study the hidden interior of the white dwarf, just like seismograph measurements of earthquakes allow geologists to study the interior of the Earth.

We figured out that the carbon interior of this white dwarf has solidified to form the galaxy's largest diamond," says Metcalfe.

Astronomers expect our Sun will become a white dwarf when it dies 5 billion years from now. Some two billion years after that, the Sun's ember core will crystallise as well, leaving a giant diamond in the centre of our Solar System.

"Our Sun will become a diamond that truly is forever," says Metcalfe.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3492919.stm


Remember when i said mining in space wasn't worth it? I take it back.

Trooth
16 Feb 04,, 23:13
I'll race you. 50 light years ain't far :)

Confed999
17 Feb 04,, 04:44
That's fantastic, I love this stuff. Who knows what will yet be found right here around Sol.

Sparky
17 Feb 04,, 23:33
They say we are made of the dust of early super nova stars. I looks like we'll all end up being diamonds in the end though.

Praxus
17 Feb 04,, 23:37
I hope we become masters of the Universe with the ability to create a whole new galaxys, warp time, and travel from one point to another with a flick of the fingers.

:-D

Confed999
17 Feb 04,, 23:49
Originally posted by Praxus
I hope we become masters of the Universe with the ability to create a whole new galaxys, warp time, and travel from one point to another with a flick of the fingers.

:-D
Given enough time and space, all answers will come. :)

Trooth
18 Feb 04,, 00:15
Well we all have greatness in us. No seriously. Pick any famous figure from history, and chances are there are few million atoms of he or she in you.

The mind boggles.

Confed999
18 Feb 04,, 23:40
I wonder, how many atoms are in the average human body?

Trooth
18 Feb 04,, 23:45
7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 for a 70Kg human.

Give or take a couple.

Confed999
18 Feb 04,, 23:47
That's too many for me to grasp, how about in a grain of salt? :)

Trooth
19 Feb 04,, 00:02
Ah well. how big a grain of salt?

But apparently, 12,000,000,000,000,000,000

Everything is mostly free space. We humans are of course mostly free space, but it turns out, what is our substance is mostly oxygen.

Confed999
19 Feb 04,, 00:11
Hehe ;) I learned about the free space thing on Star Trek, when I was just wee. :)

Trooth
19 Feb 04,, 00:36
Bill Bryson came up with an excellent metaphor for the free spaciness of matter in his "A Short History of Nearly Everything"

If you imagine an atom to be the size of a cathedral, the nucleus would be the size of a fly. That's a lot of free space!

Blademaster
19 Feb 04,, 04:02
Ooooh better not let my brother or father see that diamond. They might be crazy enough to attempt to go there and attempt to *appraise* it.

Geez, I wonder how the hell can you appraise that sort of size of that monstrosity?

Ironduke
19 Feb 04,, 05:52
Originally posted by Trooth
Bill Bryson came up with an excellent metaphor for the free spaciness of matter in his "A Short History of Nearly Everything"

If you imagine an atom to be the size of a cathedral, the nucleus would be the size of a fly. That's a lot of free space!
Maybe excellent for Europeans. Most Americans don't see a cathedral on a daily basis. :lol

tomas
02 Mar 04,, 09:29
Originally posted by Ironman
Maybe excellent for Europeans. Most Americans don't see a cathedral on a daily basis. :lol

neither do we most europeans are very unreligeous britain has one of the worse for it.

Ironduke
02 Mar 04,, 14:07
Originally posted by tomas
neither do we most europeans are very unreligeous britain has one of the worse for it.
When I was Amsterdam, I used to find my way around town by remembering the cathedral towers.

Trooth
02 Mar 04,, 19:33
Originally posted by tomas
neither do we most europeans are very unreligeous britain has one of the worse for it.

Indeed, it appears we have moved our worship from superstition to reality TV "stars".

Confed999
02 Mar 04,, 22:58
Originally posted by Ironman
When I was Amsterdam, I used to find my way around town by remembering the cathedral towers.
Good plan, I'll try that this year. Doubt my memory will be worth a squat though LOL. :smoke

2DREZQ
11 Mar 04,, 02:28
My wife wants a new diamond for her wedding ring. I think I'll tell her I've "sent" for one.

At the speed we went to the moon it will only take 12.8 million years to get there (and another 12.8 to get back.)

tomas
22 Apr 04,, 12:14
Indeed, it appears we have moved our worship from superstition to reality TV "stars".

lol thats good