A Diamond Bigger than Earth Discovered in Constellation Centaurus -A Galaxy Classic
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November 18, 2008

A Diamond Bigger than Earth Discovered in Constellation Centaurus -A Galaxy Classic

Diamond_2_5A little over one year ago, like an episode out of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced the discovery of a mass of crystallized carbon formerly known as star BPM 37093, now known as the biggest diamond in the galaxy, fifty light years away from Earth in the constellation Centaurus.

The star, named "Lucy" after the Beatles song, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," is estimated to be 2,500 miles across and weighs approximately 10 billion-trillion-trillion-carats – a one, followed by 34 zeros. Travis Metcalfe, an astronomer from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and leader of the team who discovered the gem, says “You would need a jeweler’s loupe the size of the sun to grade this diamond. Bill Gates and Donald Trump together couldn’t begin to afford it.”

The diamond is actually the crystallized interior of a white dwarf – or the hot core of a star that is 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.

Five billion years from now, our sun will die and become a white dwarf. Approximately two billion years after that, its ember core will crystallize as well, leaving a giant diamond in the center of our solar system. A paper announcing this discovery has been submitted to The Astrophysical Journal Letters for publication. The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. Scientists within the organization are classified into six research divisions where they study the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe.

Posted by Casey Kazan

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Talking about shipping cost... is this E-Bay?

It would be graphite and not a diamond, graphite has a lower entropy, the people at the Smithsonian should know that

It's not bigger than the earth,the earth's diameter at the equater is 7,926,28 miles(12756.1km) far bigger than the 2,500 miles quoted
The moon's diameter is 2140 miles(3476km) so you could say it's bigger than the moon

AS FOR FACT OR FICTION: it is a fact that stars the size of our sun or smaller will indeed turn into a white dwarf (which is basically a big carbon ball) after hydrogen and helium burning phases cease, it will collapse in on itself with the leftover carbon... blah blah blah... i guess the important part is that your girlfriend couldn't wear a stone from a white dwarf even if there was a way to retrieve it: one tablespoon of a white dwarf material weighs one ton!! http://observe.arc.nasa.gov/nasa/ootw/1996/ootw_961126/ob961126.html

How is this bigger than Earth if it is 2,500 miles across, and earth's diameter is nearly 8,000 miles?

Looks like the poster doesn't know how big the Earth is. There's no reference in the original article stating that the object is bigger than Earth.

"leaving a giant diamond in the center of 'our solar system'"?? Didn't realise we'd drifted 50 light years to the Centaur constellation?!!?!? :P

The further away the observation the more skeptical I am. I'm not saying their not right. they might very well be. Would be cool actually. Shows us how silly we are here on this planet to run around killing each other for little bits of hard transparent rock.

The best thing about becoming a space faring race would be that minerals will become virtually worthless. Maybe then life and the natural wonders of our planet will become more valuable to us.

I like your thoughts, Trutherizer...

Tim, the article said that '...OUR sun will...become a white dwarf...', putting IT in the CENTER of OUR solar system! So, what point are you trying to make? The article is saying that, based on observations of the Centaurus object (a former star), our star may or will experience the same, final fate 'two billion years' after it dies.

I wonder what else is out there besides giant diamond star cores... solid gold planets? Platinum asteroids? Pixie dust?

solid gold planets won't happen because of various physics-related reasons. platinum asteroids perhaps, but pixie dust? ofcourse! :P

I long for the day when we'll discover intelligent life elsewhere.

who cares if we get to it- we would only waste money on something we can get here and some people would lose it a few weeks after we get it and it would only be taking something we can perfectly well get here- we pay most of our money to these people and they tell us this junk we know cant be true- thats all they have to show for all the "work" they put into it- im only 12 and im doing a project on centaurus- thats the only reason i came to this site, i thought it sounded pretty cool, until i read you guys comments, then i realized how stupid some people are! (and it might not even be the scientists- it might just be that whoever made this website is kinda stupid)

Can't think of one event that you could wear it without looking tacky.

yes diamonds are carbon so that could be true and you can't wear it because 1 bit the size of a pin head would weigh about the weight of your house

Anyone wondering about the process of carbon formation, or any element's formation, should read the book Stardust by John Gribbin. It's very well written, easily digestible, and explains the matter thoroughly.

When the star dies, basically, all sorts of crazy nuclear shit happens, all under intensified heat and pressure because the nova explosion, and then there's like another explosion that sends a lot of the newly created carbon and oxygen and shit into the galaxy. Read the book, you'll see :)

Oh and if someone were to make any of those racist comments in front of my face, I'd deck them.

As far as I remember a dying star could form anything due to intense pressure at the end of its life cycle through the process of nuclear fusion. I think it could be quite possible to have a star convert itself from hydrogen and helium to carbon but it wouldn't necessarily be one huge honkin diamond possibly many very massive ones among other forms of carbon 12 and 14 including graphite and coal. It is possible also to convert from H and He to Iron and even heavier elements in the core of a dying star so carbon is not outside the realm of possibility but carbon is burnable in a stars core. Even diamond at proper temperatures can combust.

We should point a HUGE laser at it and then wait ten years until we get the universe's biggest disco light.

oh noes

As to the value of such a 'space rock'. It's all artificial. Diamonds are neither the hardest minerals nor the most rare or even the most astonishing to look at. The price point is set by those few who 'regulate' the inflow of diamonds and cut off sources they don't control. "Diamonds are forever" is just a marketing campaign. The fact that diamonds costs are high is arbitrarily set by a few colluding board members.

can you put it on a chain?
I say we bring it to earth and let it become a 2nd Moon.
or replace the 1st, whichever.


The incredibly large temperatures and pressures would eliminate graphite as a stable phase for carbon under star-like circumstances. The heat and pressure inside this thing would make Earth's core feel like a breezy summer's day. I suspect the "diamond" has a chaotic, churning, metallic and chewy center.

I ma on my way. :)

If we could capture even 0.1% of that diamond (in mass), I estimate that it would become cheaper than water. Supply would skyrocket, as would demand. Still, supply would increase proportionally more than demand.

Yay! Internets!

They don't know it's a diamond. It could just as easily be something which, when viewed across interstellar space, exhibits exactly the same properties as a diamond the size of a small planet would.


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» El diamante más grande ... de la galaxia (eng) from meneame.net
El Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics ha anunciado el descubrimiento de una masa de carbono cristalizado, anteriormente conocida como estrella BPM 37093, y recientemente bautizada Lucy (por la canción de los Beatles Lucy in the Sky with ... [Read More]

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