First Direct Evidence Stars Like Our Sun Turn Into Crystals — SNAPSHOT

James Marshall
January 11, 2019

Astronomers had long suspected such crystallization was possible.

To come to this conclusion, the researchers used data collected by the European Space Agency's Gaia telescope to analyse the colour and brightness of 15,000 white dwarf stars within 300 light-years of Earth.

For the first time scientists have found evidence that ancient dying stars, known as white dwarfs, transform into diamond-like globes which still burn intensely enough to glow brightly in the sky.

Prior to crystallization, atoms are thought to be packed so tightly in the core of a white dwarf that their electrons become unbound, leaving a conducting electron gas and positively charged nuclei in a fluid form.

You may have heard that billions of years down the road the sun will swell to a ravenous red giant star that will eventually swallow Earth.

This pileup, or traffic jam in the data suggests that at around the same point in the cooling process, the stars simply stop getting colder.

The oldest white dwarfs, nearly the age of the Milky Way, are likely to be almost fully crystal Discovery published in Nature exactly fifty years after it was predicted.

White dwarf star in the process of solidifying.

"All white dwarfs will crystallize at some point in their evolution, although more massive white dwarfs go through the process sooner", Pier-Emmanuel Tremblay from the University of Warwick's Department of Physics in the United Kingdom explained in a statement.

After this contraction the star can still create energy by fusing helium to create carbon and oxygen, Tremblay said.

Dr. Tremblay and his team discovered an excess population of stars with specific colors and luminosities that, when compared to stellar evolution models, coincided with the point at which latent heat is released during the onset of crystallization.

"We see them sitting there for hundreds of millions and even billions of years when they should be cooling on a much shorter time scale", Hermes said. During the process energy is released, Tremblay explained. It's just that the temperature needed in this case is around 10 million degrees. These data revealed an odd "pileup" - an overabundance of white dwarfs with certain colors and brightnesses that can not be explained by the objects' ages or masses.

They also claim that the sun is going to turn into a massive crystal.

The new finding suggests that not only is that energy detectable, but it is at the upper end of predicted estimates by theoreticians, he said.

Eventually white dwarfs cool down into black dwarfs when they give off no more heat.

'This means that billions of white dwarfs in our galaxy have already completed the process and are essentially crystal spheres in the sky.

One day in the far-distant future, Tremblay said, 97 pe rcent of stars in the universe will meet this fate.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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