News / Science & Technology

Astronomers Discover 'Earth-size Diamond in Space'

In this illustration from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, a stellar pair consisting of a pulsar and a white dwarf star is seen.
In this illustration from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, a stellar pair consisting of a pulsar and a white dwarf star is seen.

Related Articles

Ancient Subsurface Ocean Could Have Flowed on Pluto's Moon Charon

Notion of liquid water on body 29 times further away from the Sun than Earth seems far fetched given the surface temperature on Charon is minus 229 Celsius

NASA IDs Potential Target for Asteroid Mission

Space agency considering relocating small asteroid that buzzed Earth three years ago into high orbit around the moon when it returns in 2024
VOA News

Astronomers say they’ve discovered “an Earth-size diamond in space.”
 
The white dwarf star, some 900 million light-years away, could be the coldest and faintest such star detected.
 
“It’s a really remarkable object,” said David Kaplan, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who led a team of researchers, in a statement.

Kaplan and his team discovered this stellar gem using the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Green Bank Telescope and Very Long Baseline Array, as well as other observatories.

White dwarf stars form when stars collapse into a super dense Earth-size object. They are thought to be made of carbon and oxygen. This particular white dwarf is thought to be 11 billion years old, or roughly the same age the Milky Way galaxy.
 
Because of its age, it has likely cooled to the point where the carbon has crystallized into a substance “not unlike a diamond.”
 
The star was discovered because of its partner star, a pulsar called PSR J2222-0137.
 
Pulsars are remnants of collapsed stars which emit beams of electromagnetic radiation.
 
According to the researchers the pulsar was spinning “more than 30 times each second and was gravitationally bound to a companion star.” The two stars circled each other every 2.45 days.
 
That companion star was thought to be a neutron star or a white dwarf.
 
By observing how the companion “warped” space and delayed the precise radio signals of the pulsar, the researchers were able to “identify the orientation of their orbit and the individual masses of the two stars.
 
With such precise information, researchers expected to be able observe the white dwarf in both optical and infrared light.  But the star could not be detected by either the Southern Astrophysical Research telescope in Chile nor the 10-meter Keck telescope in Hawaii.
 
“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 temperature of the white dwarf, researchers say, would be about 2,700 degrees Celsius. For comparison, our sun is about 5,000 times hotter at its center.
 
A paper describing these results is published in the Astrophysical Journal.

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: VOA News
June 25, 2014 10:17 AM
Thanks for the heads up. The number has been fixed.


by: Stephen from: scotland
June 25, 2014 9:54 AM
Just tell Todd frickin hoffman...make for a good season of gold rush


by: Last Curmudgeon
June 24, 2014 11:31 PM
"not unlike diamond" you know what else is not unlike diamond? graphite. yup. pencil lead is pure carbon crystal. just like diamond.


by: Adrian from: Toronto
June 24, 2014 6:50 PM
2,7000?
Is that supposed to be 2,700 or 27,000?
(I suppose I could look up the internal temperature of the Sun, but that isn't the point.)

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid