Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: How brightly can a diamond shine?

May 5, 2013

If you get close enough, certain diamonds are so bright they can actually reduce you to cinders. That’s because the brightest (and also the largest) diamonds in the universe are actually stars. Stars have a natural life-cycle, and late in that process, after most of their fuel has been spent, they may become something called a white dwarf. White dwarf stars are incredibly dense, containing a mass similar to our sun in an area the size of the earth, and most of that core consists of compressed carbon atoms. It was theorized that eventually all that carbon would crystallize, but an actual diamond-filled star was not identified until 2004. The nearest space diamond, affectionately known as V886 Centauri, is estimated to be 4,000km across, making it 10 billion trillion trillion carats. Twinkle twinkle, indeed.

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