Astronomers Discover “Earth-Size Diamond” In Space

Astronomers have discovered an Earth-size diamond in the space, according to a report published in The Astrophysical Journal. It’s the faintest, coldest white dwarf star ever observed. We have attached a lot of value and mystique to the diamond for hundreds of years. But humans are unlikely to get their hands on this Earth-size diamond anytime soon as it’s about 900 light years away. Just to give you an idea, one light year means 5878625541248 miles.

The Earth-size diamond is 11 billion years old

This white dwarf star is so cool that its carbon molecules have crystallized, forming a giant diamond. Scientists estimate that it’s about 11 billion years old, approximately the same age as the Milky Way. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor David Kaplan said that there could be many more such objects in the space. But they are hard to find because they are too dim.

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Kaplan and his colleagues used the Green Bank Telescope (GBT), National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) and other observatories to discover this stellar gem. White dwarfs, including this Earth-size diamond, are mostly composed of carbon and oxygen. They slowly cool and fade over a period of billions of years.

The Earth-size diamond was discovered after astronomers located its pulsar companion PSR J2222-0137.  They observed the pulsar companion for about two years, and found that it has a mass 1.2x that of Sun. These observations helped pinpoint its location and distance from our planet. It is in the direction of the constellation Aquarius, about 900 light years away from Earth.

The white dwarf diamond’s temperature is 3,000 degree Kelvin

Astronomers found that this white dwarf diamond’s temperature is just 3,000 degree Kelvin or 2,700 degree Celsius. That temperature may seem very high for us who live at below 50 degree Celsius temperatures. But in terms of star temperatures, it’s close to the ice-cube status. Our Sun is about 5,000 times hotter than the white dwarf.

After tracking its location, distance and brightness, researchers believed that it could easily have been observed in the infrared or optical light. But neither the 10-meter Keck telescope in Hawaii nor the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope in Chile could detect it.