Ming the Mechanic:
Lucy in the sky with diamonds

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Lucy in the sky with diamonds2004-02-14 18:42
picture by Flemming Funch

A couple of cool astronomical finds in the last couple of days. First one you can see on the left in a picture from the Spitzer Space Telescope. It is a cluster of newborn stars called NGC 7129, 3300 lightyears away in the constellation Cepheus. The nebulosity is rose-colored and rosebud-shaped. And all these stars are found in a piece of space about the same size as the distance between the Sun and the nearest star to here, Proxima Centauri.

What you see on the right is not a photo. But what it depicts is rather amazing. It is a crystallized white dwarf named BPM 37093. 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 and is coated by a thin layer of hydrogen and helium gases. And in this case it has now been found that the core of this star is solid diamond. It is 2,500 miles across and weighs 5 million trillion trillion pounds, which translates to approximately 10 billion trillion trillion carats, if you want to measure it as an earth diamond. Supposedly our sun will end its days as a diamond as well.

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14 Feb 2004 @ 20:47 by nemue : Just One Carat For Me Please
Fantastic pics. I will settle for just 1 carat or may be 2..  

15 Feb 2004 @ 01:23 by nonie @ : WOW
That is very interesting. Thank you for posting it.  

16 Feb 2004 @ 03:39 by maxtobin : My God Yes!!
Fantastic Flemming you do keep coming up with such delightful "use-less" information!!! A few little shards would be nice eh!! But imagine if it decided to bless us in one hit, it would be far too much wealth for this delightful planet to cope with, not to mention what it would do for the economy. It would have the Bankers and their Jeweller buddies running round like little Dutch boys poking their collective fingers into the dyke!! But the one that really gets me is the beautiful unfolding Rose, was it discovered on Valintines day?  

16 Feb 2004 @ 10:55 by ming : Rose
Well, I think both of these were a few days before, but they sort of saved them for a, somewhat cheesy, valentine's day press release. Quite appropriate though.  

14 Mar 2004 @ 08:03 by taranga @ : diamonds
so they really are for ever!  

9 Oct 2004 @ 03:31 by heather @ : looks like Earth
This pic of the diamond dwarf and your explanation of its makeup seems to resemble the beginning stages of our Earth. So this means that all over there are different 'Earths' and other ones in different stages of formation, because there are stars and dwarfs and the like all over the place. Does this mean that our planet was once a star? Does anyone believe about the theory that the sun's gravity is pulling all the planets forward very slowly into it?  

Other stories in
2009-11-01 16:35: Seven questions that keep physicists up at night
2008-10-14 20:33: Where are the podcars?
2008-07-05 00:08: Self-Organized Criticality
2008-05-16 13:34: The Universe as God
2008-01-11 19:00: Richard Dawkins comes to call
2007-12-02 21:10: An E8 theory of everything
2007-09-27 00:46: Parallel universes are a bit more real
2007-07-05 23:40: What happened before the big bang
2007-06-27 00:58: Naïve realism
2007-05-26 02:26: Mars cave

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