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

11 January, 2019, 21:14 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • White dwarf star in the process of solidifying

For the first time astronomers have directly observed evidence of white dwarf stars solidifying into giant crystals.

And there are billions of similar sparkling crystal spheres in the Milky Way alone.

Dr Pier-Emmanuel Tremblay from the University of Warwick's Department of Physics said, 'This is the first direct evidence that white dwarfs crystallise, or transition from liquid to solid. Using data from the ESA's Gaia satellite, an worldwide group of researchers claim to have found evidence that supports the theory that when massive white dwarf stars like our brilliant host (the Sun) burn out and die, they solidify into metallic crystals.

About 50 years ago, scientists predicted that the gaseous cores of white dwarfs should crystallise and become solid with the cooling of the hot gases inside them.

"We've made a large step forward in getting accurate ages for these cooler white dwarfs and therefore old stars of the Milky Way". But I still wouldn't mind skipping the part where our entire planet is swallowed in the hellacious heat of a massive nuclear furnace we once called the sun.

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

Their findings seem to suggest that stars may be a lot older than previously thought.

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What they found surprised them. The majority of the stars in the Universe, like the Sun, are moderate in size and they fade away silently.

Astronomers chose 15,000 white dwarf candidates within around 300 light years of Earth from perceptions made by the Gaia satellite and broke down information on the stars' luminosities and colors. 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. White Dwarf Crystallization Crystallization is the process by which materials turn into a solid form in which the atoms are organized into a structure known as crystals.

Have you got "space" for more out-of-this-world trivia?

But just as the water in your freezer continues to cool after it releases all its latent energy, white dwarfs eventually resume their cooling as well. It is estimated that in some cases these stars have slowed down their aging by as much as 2 billion years, or 15 percent of the age of our galaxy. And while they initially radiate enough heat that we can see them in our telescopes, they slowly lose their energy over billions of years.

"We saw a pile-up of white dwarfs of certain colors and luminosities that were otherwise not linked together in terms of their evolution", said Tremblay. "This means that billions of white dwarfs in our galaxy have already completed the process and are essentially crystal spheres in the sky".

There are billions of white dwarves out there that have already gone through this process, astral remnants haunting our galaxy like freakish crystal ghosts.

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