A few years ago, astronomers found an Earth-sized diamond star. Now, ESA’s spacecraft, Gaia, revealed data that shows how white dwarfs turn into crystals as their hot gas cools. This happens when stars, like our Sun, die. And, they shed off their outer layers, leaving behind hot cores that start to cool down.
Earth-Sized Diamond Exists in Real Life
The Earth-size diamond is about 900 light years away, and it is the real-life crystal carbon remnant of a dead star. The large star had formerly been like the Sun, and it ended its life in a supernova. It is 11 billion years old and is one of the coldest white dwarfs that astronomers found. Even more, the star was so cool that it could not be seen; scientists found it based on the way it disturbed its spinning companion star. If you wanted to find the star, it is in the direction of the Aquarius constellation.
White Dwarfs Turn into Crystals
White dwarfs are the remains of medium-sized stars, and they can cool for billions of years. Once they burn all the nuclear fuel in their core, the stars shed off their outer layers. And, the star’s core starts the crystallization process to become solid. The temperature, in which the solidification starts to happen, is about 10 million degrees Celsius.
Lately, ESA’s GAIA spacecraft captured data that shows the distance, brightness, and color of hundreds of thousands of white dwarfs. Due to the distance estimate, astronomers can now estimate the true brightness of the white dwarf stars. The scientists were able to spot crystallizing white dwarfs.
When Will Our Sun Turn into a Crystal?
The Sun, the star of our solar system, has about 5 billion years before it becomes a white dwarf. Then, the astronomers estimate, there will be another 5 billion years before the Sun cools to a crystal sphere.