Ancient Earth-sized ‘diamond’ discovered in space

Now that’s a precious star: Astronomers spot Earth sized white dwarf made of DIAMOND

Ancient-Earth--sized-diamond-discovered-in-space
Artist impression of the The coldest, faintest white dwarf star ever detected, that is so cool that its carbon has crystallized, forming the Earth-size diamond in space.

It can dwarf even the most bling of rings on Earth.

A team of astronomers in the US have discovered possibly the coldest, faintest white dwarf star ever detected. This ancient stellar remnant is so cool that its carbon has crystallized, forming — in effect — an Earth-size diamond in space.

“It’s a really remarkable object,” said David Kaplan, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“These things should be out there, but because they are so dim they are very hard to find.”

Kaplan and his colleagues found this stellar gem using the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s (NRAO) Green Bank Telescope (GBT) and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), as well as other observatories.

White dwarfs are the extremely dense end-states of stars like our Sun that have collapsed to form an object approximately the size of Earth. Composed mostly of carbon and oxygen, white dwarfs slowly cool and fade over billions of years. The object in this new study is likely the same age as the Milky Way, approximately 11 billion years old.

Pulsars are rapidly spinning neutron stars, the superdense remains of massive stars that have exploded as supernovas. As neutron stars spin, lighthouse-like beams of radio waves, streaming from the poles of its powerful magnetic field, sweep through space. When one of these beams sweeps across Earth, radio telescopes can capture the pulse of radio waves.

The pulsar companion to this white dwarf, dubbed PSR J2222-0137, was the first object in this system to be detected. It was found using the GBT by Jason Boyles, then a graduate student at West Virginia University in Morgantown.

These first observations revealed that the pulsar was spinning more than 30 times each second and was gravitationally bound to a companion star, which was initially identified as either another neutron star or, more likely, an uncommonly cool white dwarf. The two were calculated to orbit each other once every 2.45 days.

The pulsar was then observed over a two-year period with the VLBA by Adam Deller, an astronomer at the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON). These observations pinpointed its location and distance from Earth — approximately 900 light-years away in the direction of the constellation Aquarius. This information was critical in refining the model used to time the arrival of the pulses at Earth with the GBT.

By applying Einstein’s theory of relativity, the researchers studied how the gravity of the companion warped space, causing delays in the radio signal as the pulsar passed behind it. These delayed travel times helped the researchers determine the orientation of their orbit and the individual masses of the two stars. The pulsar has a mass 1.2 times that of the Sun and the companion a mass 1.05 times that of the Sun.

These data strongly indicated that the pulsar companion could not have been a second neutron star; the orbits were too orderly for a second supernova to have taken place.

Knowing its location with such high precision and how bright a white dwarf should appear at that distance, the astronomers believed they should have been able to observe it in optical and infrared light.

See also: Alien Planet 17 Times Heavier Than Earth

Remarkably, neither the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope in Chile nor the 10-meter Keck telescope in Hawaii was able to detect it.

“Our final image should show us a companion 100 times fainter than any other white dwarf orbiting a neutron star and about 10 times fainter than any known white dwarf, but we don’t see a thing,” said Bart Dunlap, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and one of the team members. “If there’s a white dwarf there, and there almost certainly is, it must be extremely cold.”

The researchers calculated that the white dwarf would be no more than a comparatively cool 3,000 degrees Kelvin (2,700 degrees Celsius). Our Sun at its center is about 5,000 times hotter.

Astronomers believe that such a cool, collapsed star would be largely crystallized carbon, not unlike a diamond. Other such stars have been identified and they are theoretically not that rare, but with a low intrinsic brightness, they can be deucedly difficult to detect. Its fortuitous location in a binary system with a neutron star enabled the team to identify this one.

A paper describing these results is published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

David L. Kaplan, Jason Boyles, Bart H. Dunlap, Shriharsh P. Tendulkar, Adam T. Deller, Scott M. Ransom, Maura A. McLaughlin, Duncan R. Lorimer, Ingrid H. Stairs. A 1.05 M ☉ Companion to PSR J2222–0137: The Coolest Known White Dwarf? The Astrophysical Journal, 2014; 789 (2): 119 DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/789/2/119

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

The 10 Biggest Dangers Posed By Future Technology

It’s not easy predicting the future of technology. In the fifties it seemed a pretty much foregone conclusion that by 2015 we would all...

Bees on Mars: Nasa funds swarm of robotic insects for exploring Red Planet

A swarm of robotic bees, nimble enough to fly across the surface of Mars and explore the Red Planet’s nooks and crannies, is being...

Careful what you say: Your Samsung TV might be listening

Samsung warns customers new Smart TVs 'listen in' on users' personal conversations Samsung has come under fire from privacy campaigners after it emerged the company’s...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Complete List of BANKS Owned/Controlled by the Rothschild Family

What’s the significance of having a central bank within a country and why should you concern yourself, your family and colleagues? Central banks are illegally...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

The 10 Biggest Dangers Posed By Future Technology

It’s not easy predicting the future of technology. In the fifties it seemed a pretty much foregone conclusion that by 2015 we would all...

ET3 is literally “Space Travel on Earth”

ET3 is literally "Space Travel on Earth". ET3 stands for Evacuated Tube Transport Technologies. ET3 is silent, low cost, safe, faster than jets, and...

This Groundbreaking Device Generates Drinking Water from Humidity

What if you’re a biker, cycling in the countryside miles away from the nearest town, and you suddenly feel thirsty but don’t have any...

Ingredient in Olive Oil Looks Promising in the Fight Against Cancer

Oleocanthal kills cancer cells with their own enzymes A Rutgers nutritional scientist and two cancer biologists at New York City’s Hunter College have found that...

Monsanto Supplied US And Israel With Chemical Weapons According To Declassified Documents

Recently declassified documents reveal that Monsanto has provided both the Israeli and US militaries with white phosphorus as early as 2009. White phosphorus is a...

Alien-Obsessed Student Disappears, Leaving Behind Room Full of Strange Writings

A UFO enthusiast who mysteriously vanished last week left behind a den plastered wall-to-wall with Illuminati codes and symbols. The psychology student, Bruno Borges, 24,...

This court just ruled Coca-Cola products are POISON

Chances are you’ve seen some videos circulating the web showing Coke’s ability to take rust and paint off metal objects or clean toilet bowls. While...

8 Incredible Archaeological Finds Your History Books Probably Didn’t Mention

I wanted to be Indiana Jones as a kid. The problem is, archaeology is a lot harder of a degree to obtain than one in...