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Scientists Find A Diamond the Size of Earth

by Brandon Russell | June 29, 2014June 29, 2014 6:00 am PST

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Scientists have found an 11 billion year-old diamond 900 light-years away from our home planet—one of the oldest found by astronomers. But this isn’t an ordinary diamond: researchers claim the space rock is the size of Earth, making it one of the largest diamonds in existence (that we know of). That’s one massive diamond, but sadly it’ll never be cut. Scientists have never even seen it.

Described in a study published in The Astrophysical Journal, the massive diamond is said to be among the coldest white dwarfs we’ve ever found. And that’s exactly why we’re unable to see it; the nameless diamond-star is so cool and dim that the light is unable to be seen in the overwhelming vastness of space. Even if we were able to get closer, researchers still say we wouldn’t be able to see it.

Researchers were able to deduce the massive diamond’s presence by the way its gravity disturbs steady radio pulses coming from a spinning companion star. This isn’t the first time scientists have found a large space diamond. In 2012, researchers discovered a planet roughly the size of two Earths that was made primarily of diamond. This one, however, is pure cut—a gleaming crystallized white dwarf just sitting out there in space.

Scientists say the diamond-star formed like this: after ending its life in a supernova, a small clump about the size of Earth was leftover, which eventually cooled and faded to what it is now. National Geographic points out that if you were to look toward the constellation Aquarius you’d be looking in the right direction. But you’ll never be able to see it; nobody will.

Researchers say there are probably similar diamond stars out there in the universe, though they’re too dim for us to see them. Still, imagining the night sky filled with thousands of diamonds is certainly a romantic thought.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.

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