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View Full Version : Giant diamond spotted. Can I turst this?



TheGalaxyTrio
2004-Feb-15, 06:50 PM
http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/press/pr0407.html

Can they really tell the carbon has formed diamond?

And a lot of the quotes are really silly, like this one:


When asked to estimate the value of the cosmic jewel, Ronald Winston, CEO of Harry Winston Inc., indicated that such a large diamond probably would depress the value of the market.

A diamond the size of the moon (assuming it could be "mined") might depress the market? Gee. Ya think?

Taibak
2004-Feb-16, 02:06 AM
I would say you can trust that.

Granted the article is a bit silly, but it sounds believable. I'd want to read the actual scientific paper before making up my mind completely, but this should be possible. Where the two basic elemental forms of carbon - graphite and diamond - have different structures, they should have different spectra. As such, it should just be a matter of pointing a good spectroscope at Lucy and comparing the results to the expected spetra of each.

Taibak

Oops
2004-Feb-16, 02:39 AM
The Sun will become a diamond? I thought it wasn't big enough to form carbon.

If all the diamonds that are mined made it to the world market, diamonds would probably be a bit less expensive. I suspect that particular diamond would actually have very little effect on the world market.

What would it take to knock off a chunk of that thing and get it to escape velocity?

Chip
2004-Feb-16, 02:39 AM
The diamond core is inside a white dwarf star, so in addition to being light years away, its very hard to get at.

Therefore a gigantic "Jeweler's Loupe" starship, followed by a "Chasing Hammer ship" that rams into a "Cutting Blade ship", for tapping and cutting the giant diamond into a nice planet sized centerpiece, is not feasible. :wink: :D

Taibak
2004-Feb-16, 05:54 AM
The Sun will become a diamond? I thought it wasn't big enough to form carbon.

It's not big enough to *fuse* Carbon. In other words, it can make all the Carbon it wants - it just can't do anything with it.


What would it take to knock off a chunk of that thing and get it to escape velocity?

You mean besides the Starship Enterprise? :lol:

calliarcale
2004-Feb-17, 05:57 PM
I would say you can trust that.

Granted the article is a bit silly, but it sounds believable. I'd want to read the actual scientific paper before making up my mind completely, but this should be possible. Where the two basic elemental forms of carbon - graphite and diamond - have different structures, they should have different spectra. As such, it should just be a matter of pointing a good spectroscope at Lucy and comparing the results to the expected spetra of each.

Taibak

I don't think you could use spectroscopy to do it. Spectroscopy will tell you what elements are present, and graphite and diamond have exactly the same elemental structure. I admit its been a while since my entry-level college chemistry class, but I don't recall our spectroscopy equipment being able to distinguish between different crystalline matrices of the same elements.

Anyway, the diamond core is well within the star; spectroscopy will only tell you about the outside of it. But the scientists who reached this conclusion used a different technique for observing the star's insides: asteroseismology. And that's quite plausible.

tracer
2004-Feb-18, 02:23 AM
The diamond core is inside a white dwarf star, so in addition to being light years away, its very hard to get at.
Not to mention being in a state of electron degeneracy, meaning that a teaspoon-sized chunk of it would weigh in at about a ton.

So even if you could make a piece of jewelry out of a tiny fragment of that "diamond", it would be too heavy to wear.

Azerelus
2004-Feb-18, 02:39 AM
That report is slightly off by about 10 miles.

Actually we are looking at a different kind of crystal, one that is oxygen and carbon.

http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994692

<b>"Stripped electrons </b><i>


But the crystal, which has been likened to a diamond, is in fact unlike any known on Earth. The pressure inside the white dwarf is a million million times the pressure that produces diamonds. This pressure strips electrons from the atoms, leaving the nuclei to form a crystal lattice surrounded by a sea of electrons:

The researchers tested two models, one involving a pure carbon core and the other a pure oxygen core - the latter fitted the observations best. This agrees with theory, which suggests the core is roughly equal parts carbon and oxygen, but with more oxygen concentrated at the crystal's centre because it crystallises more readily.
</i>

Az

Tuckerfan
2004-Feb-18, 04:07 AM
The diamond core is inside a white dwarf star, so in addition to being light years away, its very hard to get at.
Not to mention being in a state of electron degeneracy, meaning that a teaspoon-sized chunk of it would weigh in at about a ton.

So even if you could make a piece of jewelry out of a tiny fragment of that "diamond", it would be too heavy to wear.What happens to the stuff when the tremendous pressure it was created is released? Supposing we could pull the stuff out of the center of a white dwarf, would it hold together or would it blow apart?

hewhocaves
2004-Feb-18, 04:27 AM
So glad the harvard press is doing it's utmost to keep as ill-informed as the popular press.

Yes, definately go to the actual paper and thumb through it. I've long since stopped trying to learn anything from the mass media.

eburacum45
2004-Feb-18, 04:53 AM
Oh definitely blow apart; the compressed degenerate crystals of carbon (or is it oxygen) would become a cloud of rapidly expanding atoms if a lump of this star suddenly appeared on Earth.

But it couldn't, because we could never lift a lump of degenerate matter off the surface of a white dwarf, partly because of the ultra-gee gravity, and partly because it would change state as soon as we lifted it off the star.

Mirar
2004-Feb-18, 07:46 AM
What's the difference to a neutron star?
The protons are still there, so it's not as dense?
(Are neutron star predictions wrong?)

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2004-Feb-18, 09:05 AM
What's the difference to a neutron star?
The protons are still there, so it's not as dense?
(Are neutron star predictions wrong?)

In a Neutron Star, the Electrons themselves disappear.

As the number of Protons and Electrons in Neutral Charge Matter, are equal, under high enough pressures, such as those found at the Centre of Supernovea, it is possible for all of the Core's Electrons to combine with all of its Protons, thus converting it completely over to Neutrons.

As a White Dwarf can be said to be analogous to a Gigantic Atom, so a Neutron Star can be said to be One Gigantic Nucleus, 15 Kilometres across!

It is even likely that at its Core, it is composed of those building blocks of the Nucleus, Free Quarks.

Argos
2004-Feb-18, 03:35 PM
How would it appear to an observer close to it?

I think it´s an excellent place to see quantum mechanics in action in a relatively large scale. It seems to me that the electrons would be “orbiting” the dwarf in a probability cloud, pretty like a fuzzy “atmosphere” – a ghostly atmosphere - encapsulating the dwarf´s “diamond” surface and core. An observer next to it could watch the quantum behavior of the electrons almost directly, in the form of chaotic electronic flows happening close to the surface of the dwarf.

Am I right?

In such a circumstance, the “diamond” core should be exposed optically, allowing for spectrometry, for there´s only electrons between the core and our spectrometers - though I don´t know what role the scattering of photons by the electronic cloud surrounding the core would play in the process.

Glom
2004-Feb-18, 03:53 PM
okay, now I'm a little unclear on the structure of a white dwarf.

tracer
2004-Feb-18, 04:31 PM
How would it appear to an observer close to it?
You mean, besides the fact that the observer would get squished flatter than a crepe?

(White dwarf surface gravity tends to be about 100,000 g. A neutron star's surface gravity would be over a billion* g.)



*) That's an American billion (10^9), not a British billion (10^12), for those of you playing along at home.

JohnOwens
2004-Feb-18, 11:26 PM
How would it appear to an observer close to it?
You mean, besides the fact that the observer would get squished flatter than a crepe?

(White dwarf surface gravity tends to be about 100,000 g. A neutron star's surface gravity would be over a billion* g.)



*) That's an American billion (10^9), not a British billion (10^12), for those of you playing along at home.

Squished? Not necessarily. When he says "close", I tend to think "in orbit", in which case the observer will, of course, be ripped apart by the tidal "force". Of course, you have to assume adequate radiation shielding as well.

What's the matter, you've never read Niven's "Neutron Star"?

Edymnion
2004-Feb-19, 04:26 AM
Actually, there's a good chance there is a diamond thats even larger much closer to Earth. 'Tis possible that the lightning in Jupiter's atmosphere is creating carbon by the ton, which falls to the heart of the planet. Massive heat and pressure + carbon = diamond. So, Jupiter may have a core of solid diamond, or have a diamond coated surface miles and miles thick.

And its right in our back yards!
Only problem is how to get through all that massive atmosphere... #-o

Argos
2004-Feb-19, 12:41 PM
How would it appear to an observer close to it?


There will be a safe place somewhere in such a star system, where you can orbit without major problems. Ok, and include some radiation shield.

Now can you see the core?

Amadeus
2004-Feb-19, 01:02 PM
Going back to the point abotu depressing the value of diamonds.....

The only reason that diamonds are expensive is the demand for them and the amount available to the market.

An old manager of mine went to Russia on a buisness trip and he saw crates and crates of the things. There is a huge stockpile of diamonds waiting to be sold but only a limited amount is released each year to keep the value up. It's the same with gold. Basicly it's a useless soft yellow metal but because of it's rarity is expensive.

milli360
2004-Feb-19, 03:33 PM
It's the same with gold. Basicly it's a useless soft yellow metal
Useless??

Amadeus
2004-Feb-19, 03:50 PM
It's the same with gold. Basicly it's a useless soft yellow metal
Useless??

Well it's got uses in electronics because it's a good conductor and dont corrode...... (holds breath whilst 10 billion people shout out the other uses of it) :lol:

JohnOwens
2004-Feb-19, 06:00 PM
How would it appear to an observer close to it?


There will be a safe place somewhere in such a star system, where you can orbit without major problems. Ok, and include some radiation shield.

Now can you see the core?

But I don't want to see The Core! Bad science! :cry:

Hamlet
2004-Feb-19, 06:23 PM
What's the difference to a neutron star?
The protons are still there, so it's not as dense?
(Are neutron star predictions wrong?)

In a white dwarf electrons, protons and neutrons are still separate particles but the electrons are in a state called degeneracy. This means that the electrons are packed so tightly that they are not free to move around any more and the resulting pressure keeps the white dwarf from collapsing any further. This occurs in stars where the remnant core is less than 1.4 solar masses.

In stars with remnant core greater than 1.4 solar masses but less than 3 solar masses we get a neutron star. The gravity of the core is strong enough to overcome the electron degeneracy pressure and the core collapses. During the collapse the protons and electrons are squeezed close enough together that the protons capture the electrons to form neutrons and eject neutrinos. The neutrons are in a state of degeneracy and the resulting pressure prevents further core collapse.

Dancar
2004-Feb-19, 09:31 PM
Comments:

I've read that the DeBeers company, which controls the majority of the world diamond trade, carefully controls supply and witholds stones from the market to keep prices artificially high. (My fiance would hear none of that.)

The theory that Jupiter may contain a huge diamond at its core was used by Aurthor C. Clarke in one of the 2001 sequels. I collision with a comet or some such event ejects a piece of it that lands on Europa, creating a solid diamond mountian (and possibly the collapse of DeBeers)

Dancar

Edymnion
2004-Feb-20, 01:45 AM
The theory that Jupiter may contain a huge diamond at its core was used by Aurthor C. Clarke in one of the 2001 sequels. I collision with a comet or some such event ejects a piece of it that lands on Europa, creating a solid diamond mountian (and possibly the collapse of DeBeers)Not quite, it was when the Hal/Whats-his-name combo went looking through Jupiter to make sure it had no potential for sentient life before they increased it's mass to make the planet ignite as a second sun. Mentioned the core being a diamond, oh well, lets blow it up.

A potentially sound theory though.

JohnOwens
2004-Feb-20, 01:53 AM
...the Hal/Whats-his-name combo....

Dave Bowman, FYI. Surely you remember "Dave? I can feel it...." :wink:

zebo-the-fat
2004-Feb-20, 11:28 AM
I thought I understood neutron stars/white dwarfs etc.... now i'm just confused! (Nothing new about that!) :D

Emspak
2004-Feb-20, 04:38 PM
A bit OT, but on the market for diamonds, one must remember that there are two uses: jewelry (not useful in the sense most people mean here) and things like dentists drills. Only about 1 in several thousand or so diamonds in a big mine is gem quality stuff.

The rest get used for drills and cutting tools for stuff like marble and tiles, and in fact one of the single biggest customers for any diamond mining company is medical supplies manufacturers. Ask your dentist: the only thing hard enough as well as small enough to use on teeth is diamond. You can even buy a diamond drill bit in some hardware stores, though you can only see the diamond with a magnifying glass.

Another reason they gem-quality stones are expensive is hoarding. One of the most successful marketing campaigns ever is DeBeers, which has convinced people to hang onto the jewelry over a period of decades. If all the people who bought it sold it on the market as often as say, opals or rubies or something, the price would drop considerably. DeBeers has also made huge efforts to control supply.

Diamonds formed in space -- well, I could actually see them appearing, though they wouldn't be big. Any carbonaceous asteroids that coalesced -- and gained sufficient mass -- would have diamonds at the center, but you would need a lot of them. (Near the mass of a planet, probably). A planet-like body formed of carbonaceous asteroids and whacked hard enough to fragment would leave a few big diamond hunks floating about, though I haven't done the math to see what it would take. Anyone care to take a stab at the calculations?

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Mar-04, 06:44 PM
The huge cosmic diamond gem (technically known as BPM 37093) is actually a crystallized white dwarf.

now thats the way to make money from space

calliarcale
2004-Mar-04, 08:16 PM
Comments:

I've read that the DeBeers company, which controls the majority of the world diamond trade, carefully controls supply and witholds stones from the market to keep prices artificially high. (My fiance would hear none of that.)

The theory that Jupiter may contain a huge diamond at its core was used by Aurthor C. Clarke in one of the 2001 sequels. I collision with a comet or some such event ejects a piece of it that lands on Europa, creating a solid diamond mountian (and possibly the collapse of DeBeers)

Dancar

I believe it was mentioned near the end of "2010", but featured prominently (no pun intended) as a diamond mountain on Europa in "2061".

My uncle, who works in the diamond mining business for a company which flatly refuses to have anything to do with DeBeers (despite many efforts to "persuade" them), claims that it's true about DeBeers hoarding gem-quality diamonds to artificially increase their value. His company (used to be called Dianet, but I think they changed the name) has struck a fantastically rich Kimberlite pipe in Canada. You can buy the diamonds from that mine, already faceted, at some US jewelers. They are marked with a polar bear emblem by laser etching, and they do not pass through the normal diamond-buying system, which is largely (and probably illegally) manipulated by DeBeers. I think they're prospecting in northern Finland as well now.