Posts Tagged ‘ Crystallization ’

Diamond in the sky

lucy in the sky with diamondsThe universe in full of wonders and mysteries and this one is just one of them. There are uncountable stars in the universe and the one I’m writing about is lies in the Constellation of Centarus which is just 50 light years away from the earth. Astronomers nicknamed it “Lucy” after the Beatles song, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Lucy, which is technically known as BPM 37093 – is actually a crystallized white dwarf star. A white dwarf is the hot cinder left behind when a star uses up its nuclear fuel and dies. It is made mostly of carbon and oxygen and surrounded by a thin layer of hydrogen and helium gases. In 1992 it was found that Lucy pulsates due to its core temperature dropping below 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit and in 1995 scientists decided to use Lucy for an experiment to see what she was made out of.

This experiment was to use the pulsation of the star and see if the crystallization theory was true. The process that was used is called Asteroseismology or Stellar Seismology which uses their frequency spectra to determine what the composition of the star is. The same way that geologists study the interior of the Earth during earthquakes.

Scientists had found that approximately 90% of Lucy’s mass had crystallized and since Lucy interior core is mostly made of Carbon and therefore, this means Lucy is a diamond, it’s a diamond star of 10 billion trillion trillion carats, astronomers have discovered. Lucy, the diamond star completely outclasses the largest diamond on Earth, the 546-carat Golden Jubilee which was cut from a stone brought out of the Premier mine in South Africa.

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 crystallize as well, leaving a giant diamond in the center of the solar system.

Reference – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/3492919.stm