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Feb. 13, 2004: Lucy in the Sky, With Diamonds

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Feb. 13, 2004: Lucy in the Sky, With Diamonds
2004: Astronomers announce the discovery of the largest known diamond-like object in the galaxy, a pulsating white dwarf star 50 light-years from Earth.
Known by its prosaic catalog number, BPM 37093, the dwarf was also given the more whimsical nickname Lucy, after the Beatles' song "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds."
Lucy, the remnant of a dead star in the constellation Centaurus, was identified as a "chunk of crystallized carbon" by its discoverers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The dwarf vibrates, creating pulsations that allowed astronomers to make their calculations.
What they came up with amounts to the biggest diamond ever identified, since the composition of this type of white dwarf is similar to that of a girl's best friend. Lucy's physical composition — primarily carbon and oxygen, with a thin layer of hydrogen and helium — is typical of a white dwarf, which is what remains of a star after it exhausts its nuclear fuel and dies.
But because of its unusually high mass — 1.1 times that of the sun's — Lucy is a whopper. It measures only 2,500 miles across (less than one-third the size of Earth) yet weighs 5 million trillion trillion pounds, making it the largest dwarf yet identified.
In converting that weight into carats, astronomers came up with 10 billion trillion trillion, a number that would put it somewhere north of whatever rock Melania Trump is wearing on her finger these days.
Millions of years ago Lucy was as bright as any star, but now generates only 0.06 percent of the light of our sun. As goes Lucy, so will go the sun — in about 5 billion years. The silver lining? No more worries about global warming.
Source: Various

http://feeds2.feedburner.com/~f/wire...eadlines?d=131 http://feeds2.feedburner.com/~f/wire...nes?i=T8EFSZKj http://feeds2.feedburner.com/~f/wire...nes?i=yR8kghWx http://feeds2.feedburner.com/~f/wired/topheadlines?d=41


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