Like a diamond in the sky

Astronomers have discovered a white dwarf star–basically, the burnt-out remnant of a star–that basically consists of crystallized carbon.  In other words, diamond.  It’s a diamond the size of the earth.  “Twinkle, twinkle little star. . . .”

From Astronomers literally discover diamond in the sky –

Scientists have identified what is possibly the coldest white dwarf ever detected. In fact, this dim stellar corpse is so cold that its carbon has crystallized, effectively forming a diamond the size of Earth, astronomers said.

“It’s a really remarkable object,” study leader David Kaplan, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said in a statement from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). “These things should be out there, but because they are so dim they are very hard to find.” [10 Strangest Things in Space]

Kaplan and colleagues were able to find this cosmic gem because it has a more conspicuous companion. The white dwarf does an orbital tango with a pulsar, or a fast-spinning neutron star formed from a supernova explosion that sends out a stream of radio waves like a lighthouse beam. Dubbed PSR J2222-0137, the pulsar lies 900 light-years away from Earth near the constellation Aquarius, and it was first detected using the NRAO’s Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.

This is a diamond star, not to be confused with the diamond planet.

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  • Mike Westfall

    Since this post is about astronomy, it seems like a good context in which to inform my Cranach brethren (and sisteren) of life changes coming up for me and my family.

    By Aug. 1st, I will have moved from the LANSCE linear accelerator facility at Los Alamos, NM to the Gemini Observatory in La Serena, Chile. I’ll be working as a software engineer supporting the telescope control system upgrade. I’m promised 2 years there, so I’ll probably be looking for another job then, but it may stretch out to more, or they may find something else for me to do later.

    Anyway, the whole family is excited about this move, and we are more than ready to flee New Mexico…

    We could really use your prayers as we feverishly try to get the accumulated junk disposed of and the rest packed up for the move. Oh, and to get our house sold too.