December 28, 2007
Largest Diamond in the Galaxy discovered
Astronomers have discovered the largest diamond in the galaxy located at a distance of 50 light years from earth in the Constellation Centaurus. The space diamond is virtually an enormous chunk of crystallized carbon, 4,000 kilometers in diameter which makes up ten billion trillion trillion carats or five million trillion trillion pounds comparatively the largest diamond found on earth weighs just 546 carats. Scientists believe that the diamond is the heart of an extinct star that used to shine like the Sun. Astronomers have already dubbed the space diamond as Lucy in a tribute to the Beatles song ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.’ Lucy, also known as BPM 37093, is actually a crystallized 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 and is coated by a thin layer of hydrogen and helium gases.
The white dwarf 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 Travis Metcalfe an Astronomer who heads the team that discovered the giant gem. Astronomers say that our Sun will die in five billion years and become a white dwarf too. About two billion years after it will turn into a similar diamond that will continue to sparkle in the center of the solar system forever.