Our Sun Will Eventually Turn Into a Multi-Trillion Ton Diamond → Washingtons Blog
Our Sun Will Eventually Turn Into a Multi-Trillion Ton Diamond - Washingtons Blog

Monday, September 13, 2010

Our Sun Will Eventually Turn Into a Multi-Trillion Ton Diamond

When stars use up their nuclear fuel, they turn into "white dwarf" stars. When white dwarf stars cool down, they crystallize.

In 2004, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics discovered a cooled white dwarf 50 light years away from Earth.

At the core of that cooling star is a diamond 2,500 miles across, which weighs 5 million trillion trillion pounds, or around 2 thousand trillion trillion tons, or approximately 10 billion trillion trillion carats.

As the Harvard-Smithsonian Center explained:

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 crystallized, but obtaining direct evidence became possible only recently.

"The hunt for the crystal core of this white dwarf has been like the search for the Lost Dutchman's Mine. It was thought to exist for decades, but only now has it been located," says co-author Michael Montgomery (University of Cambridge).

The white dwarf studied by Metcalfe, Montgomery, and Antonio Kanaan (UFSC Brazil), is not only radiant but also harmonious. It 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.

Amazingly, according to the Harvard-Smithsonian team, our sun will also eventually become a giant diamond:

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 our solar system.

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

High-resolution images and a Quicktime movie on the giant diamond discovery are here. See also this.

For more mind-blowing science facts, see:


  1. Good luck in chiseling off a chunk of that diamond and dragging it back to earth.

  2. Arthur C. Clarke said in his novel "2010" (sequel to "2001", not a typo) that (spoiler alert) the core of Jupiter consists of a diamond as big as the Earth.

  3. I never cease to be amazed at pop-science.

    It's just hocus-pocus, you know.

    Well, actually... -I never cease to be amazed at those poor intellectual waifs who honestly think pop-science is anything more than the fantasy machinations of the typical ticky-tock clockwork-mind -so completely deluded by science.

    As humans -we classify things into categories.

    Categories are the basis of all science.

    1+1=2 in this sense. We can add things of the same category.

    -BUT- -in reality -in THIS infinitely complex reality -all around us- there are no two things alike enough -that- if we say about them, 1+1=2 - we have somehow described those two things in some way -relating to their existence in this infinitely complex reality all around us.

    It is just not so.

    In other words, the categories of science are so much bunk. We might just as well say, the rock on someone's finger and a White Dwarf in another galaxy far away -make two diamonds.

    Huh? We can pull these two notions closer together, but that does not make it real.

    Science is bunk. Science is so-much bunk, because science is incapable of building anything that does not break, including all our scientific ideas.

    The more humanity builds with science, the more that has to be repaired and maintained, adjusted, reset -and- re-thought.

    Scientific-things break, because categories are not real or precise in our reality.

    The bees invented their own science.

    Leave science -for the bees- is my best advice.

    The life of a scientific drone does not sound very appealing to me.

    I'd much rather leave to the future -wide open spaces, clean air, clean oceans, -and- kids able to play -carefree-.

    Put Niagara Falls back the way it was.

  4. The linked article has what irritates me most about many science stories - unwarranted and somewhat misleading (as well as downright false) sensationalism.

    The title of the press releases says " The Galaxy's Largest Diamond" ... doesn't that make is sound unique? One of a kind? Biggest in the galaxy?

    According to the theory of stellar evolution this discovery supports, all white dwarf stars are potential crystalized diamonds. This particular one is 50 light years away, a tiny distance in cosmic terms.

    Its true significance is not that it's the Galaxy's Largest Diamond, but that it is the first such diamond core to be discovered and studied, and most likely that's because it's so close. Wouldn't it be safe to assume that there are thousands, millions, hundreds of millions of similar ones, some smaller, some larger?

    And then there's the "not even Trump and Gates could afford it" blather. Or the astute "it would probably depress the market" statement. It's as though the scientists writing the report don't even grasp how big the thing is. Probably? Comparing the size of this core to the supply of earth diamonds is like comparing a Mt. Everest to an ant.


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