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Astronomers Find Diamond Star 4,000 km Wide

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the sharon-osborne-summoned dept.

Space 197

tclas writes "The cosmic diamond is a chunk of crystallized carbon, 4,000 km across, some 50 light-years from the Earth in the constellation Centaurus. It's the compressed heart of an old star that was once bright like our Sun but has since faded and shrunk. Astronomers have decided to call the star 'Lucy,' after the Beatles song 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.'"

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197 comments

Finally (3, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573632)

De Beers will be funding NASA from now on!

Re:Finally (2, Insightful)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573726)

On the contrary. I think this will blow the de Beers cartel wide open, assuming that a FTL mining vessel could be equipped.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33573854)

i think debeers will develop their own space program just to maintain their monopoly.

CmdrTaco, considered living in a GROUP HOME? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33573896)

Gone senile? Got amnesia, you old douche?
 
THIS ARTICLE is SIX YEARS OLD.

preved pedobear /forced meme (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33574544)

even worse, the prognosticating paedophile got there first [wikipedia.org]!

FIFTY-SIX (4, Funny)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574818)

But the story is not six years old. The diamond is fifty light years away.

"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is from 1967. The light they saw six years ago was from about 1954.

It pre-dates Lucy by about 13 years.

Re:FIFTY-SIX (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33575126)

The star probably crystallized a good deal earlier, though. Even the light was a dupe.

Re:FIFTY-SIX (4, Insightful)

numbski (515011) | more than 3 years ago | (#33575416)

We're splitting hairs. With the exception of the Sun, moon, and some VERY near planet/stars, every time we look up at the sky, we're looking a looooong way back into the past. Just about everything you see in the sky "happened" a long time ago. Part of the reason that SETI isn't likely to succeed. Not that it isn't a valiant effort, but anything we would "hear" would be from so long ago that the civilization we're hearing may not even exist anymore, and inversely, anyone that might "hear" our RF transmissions will not have heard them yet, and won't for a good time to come still, and when they do, they're going to "hear" Howdy Doody. Our society has evolved and advanced quit a bit since that point, and if they were to reply with similar tech hoping to communicate, we won't be receiving that transmission for quite some time past *that*.

In short, our entire existence is so transient that, although it is great hubris to think we're alone, the end result is the same. We probably *are not* alone, but we'll very likely never meet any "others".

This whole discussion always sets me back into depression, realizing how short and pointless our own existence is. We scramble around, trying to be the best amongst our own, and sadly the whole thing is no different that a bunch of ants scurrying around in a pile. The only difference is scale. We arrive, we're lucky to be here more than 60 years or so, and then we're gone. We don't get to keep any of it, we don't get anything. We exist to not exist anymore. The concept of life is really sad - you become cognizant of "self" only to realize that it is so temporary that well - anyway. Religion (in my case, Christianity) winds up speaking to this by saying in essence "you don't have to die". I struggle because believing that is to say that all of what I see above my head that happened so long ago - the one that made all of *that* somehow, someway, some*why*, inserted themselves into our existence to teach us some 2000 years ago (still, long after what we see above our heads happened), then allowed the collective "us" of a very small group of humans to murder him, and then revived three days later to pay for things the collective "we" had done wrong, so that "we" would no longer have to sacrifice the lives of other things in order to live past death.

My analytical brain just about bursts at the conflict. I can only envision God as a creator of either the "multiverse" (string theory), or just "our" universe/reality - which makes us more like rats in a cage, and even then, the compartmentalization of my psyche which wants to have faith and follow my upbringing and "believe and be saved" while all the while learning all that I can while I'm here so it can all just go away anyway.

The "human condition" is a term that gets used when you're young, and then it hits you what precisely it is. Let's not split hairs over time. On the scale of time we're dealing with, you and I are a single "tick" on that clock.

Re:Finally (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574008)

assuming that a FTL mining vessel could be equipped.

That's a rather large assumption ;)

Personally I'm more worried about the vessel's construction, than how well equipped it is.

Re:Finally (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574482)

At only 50 light years away i would expect a close to light speed ship to be equipped.

Call it 150 years, I can totally see someone investing in that.

Re:Finally (2, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574572)

So you bring back 10x more diamonds than exist on the planet to finance the trip. Only problem is, with supply up 1000%, the price will go down by two factors or more as there aren't enough uses to justify that much carbon. People will be using it instead of coal in power plants, or as a cheap gravel replacement for county roads, and there will still be too much.

There is no 3. Profit! in this scenario.

Re:Finally (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574652)

It seems you don't understand deBeers business strategy.

They already have 1000% supply. They just restrict it in order to keep the price up.

So it would be business as usual for them, just a different source. Of course, they'd also market it as space diamonds, and charge 5x the price.

Re:Finally (5, Insightful)

AstroMatt (1594081) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573758)

Except white dwarf interiors will also have lots of oxygen atoms, and the lattice structure (BCC) is different from that of diamonds (interpenetrating FCC). And if you remove the self gravity the white dwarf matter would no longer be crystallized. And this story dates from 2004 - breaking news! Definitely slashdot-worthy ...

Re:That's not how they work (3, Insightful)

Just_Say_Duhhh (1318603) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574042)

No, I don't think De Beers will be funding NASA. They may start blowing up any attempts to get into space. They might even want to take out the ISS (and as anyone who has seen Congo [imdb.com] can tell you, with De Beers' massive diamond-powered lasers, the ISS is a sitting duck!) You see, they already have enough (should I say more than enough) diamonds. They just have to stop everyone else from getting access to diamonds, which would cause the price to fall.

Re:That's not how they work (1)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 3 years ago | (#33575158)

They just have to stop everyone else from getting access to diamonds, which would cause the price to fall.

Or just stop buying diamonds...

Screw up their supply by eliminating demand. Also, enforce July as a "no-sex" month so we don't have people being born in April.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33574274)

Somewhere there's some jewish girl telling her husband she wants that for her ring.

Re:Finally (-1, Flamebait)

Stray7Xi (698337) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574388)

De Beers will be funding NASA from now on!

Why? Diamonds are relatively cheap. If we wanted more diamonds we'd just produce more.

Diamonds are only valuable when they're obtained through human suffering. You wouldn't want to wear a diamond a machine suffered to make.

Maybe if DeBeers could crash this star into China then it would be worth something.

Good (1)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573634)

Good news, if this doesn't get the commercial space-race going nothing will ;)

Re:Good (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573834)

Diamonds are worthless

Re:Good (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574226)

Untrue; their extreme hardness makes them useful for many industrial applications, and their excellent thermal conductivity is valuable in many others. It *is* true that the current prices of gem-quality diamond is horribly inflated by the DeBeers cartel.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33574400)

Tell that to your girlfriend! Oh I forgot, this is /. Never mind.

4km or 4,000km wide? (3, Informative)

maroberts (15852) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573640)

If its only 4km I'll let you have it.....

P.S. This BBC story is from 2004 - slow news day, Slashdot?

Re:4km or 4,000km wide? (1)

blue_teeth (83171) | more than 3 years ago | (#33575102)

I think it is BBC site design fault and let us be forgiving to the submitter. I wrote to BBC in June 2010 for similar problem.

See below:

From: xxxx
Sent: 04 June 2010 04:26
To: NewsOnline Comments
Subject: Feedback [NewsWatch]

From: xxx
Email address: xxx

COMMENTS: Hello,

Your section "Most popular stories now" with "Most Read" seems to be
hijacked with old stories.

For instance, stories appear as most read when they are actually
very old.

Woman jailed for testicle attack - 10 February 2005

Once they appear on "Most Popular...", they will continue to be read.
Is this a system design problem or slow news at BBC?

Regards,

REPLY:

Thank you for your email and for your interest in the BBC News website.

The content of the most popular module is taken directly from our usage
statistics. There is no editorial intervention. Stories referenced from
blogs and social networking sites tend to have a much longer shelf life
than other stories and to have many lives. Consequently, it is not
unusual for older stories to appear a number of times in this module.

Regards
BBC News Website
http://news.bbc.co.uk/ [bbc.co.uk]

Forgiveness to the submitter? (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 3 years ago | (#33575362)

The BBC post the dates of their articles at the top of them. Any semi literate subbie could see that it is an old article that is in the "most read" list. Even the old style design of the page screams that it is a dated story.

I don't think forgiveness is necessary. Sending to a re-edukasion camp for 20 years would be so much more effective.

Slow day, Slashdot? (4, Informative)

AndyFewt (694753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573656)

BBC news article: Last Updated: Monday, 16 February 2004, 15:31 GMT
Over 6 years old, slow day slashdot?

Re:Slow day, Slashdot? (1)

EricTheRed (5613) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573744)

Whats worse is that I read this yesterday as it was trending on the bbc news site... and the fact that it was in an ancient layout for their site didn't cause me to spot the date either...

Re:Slow day, Slashdot? (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574228)

You have to wonder who is bumping these stories up on the BBC? Only last month the story about Indians having small cocks, and condoms being too large, made the list for a week. I suspect 4channers...

And what stupid DB must the BBC use if the old template still pops up?

Re:Slow day, Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33574542)

Now that is news for nerds!!

Re:Slow day, Slashdot? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33574612)

I know this was on reddit and it was a little while before anyone pointed out the age of the article. So, they did their part to bump the story up.

Re:Slow day, Slashdot? (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574970)

"Only last month the story about Indians having small cocks, and condoms being too large, made the list for a week." They seem to replay that story about every 6-8 months. I just figured the BBC just liked to tweaks the Indians out of boredom.

Re:Slow day, Slashdot? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573828)

Ho. Lee. Crap.

Bonus points: If you look at the "Artists Impression" picture, you'll see that it's a perfect sphere, with a perfect brilliant cut diamond in the centre! Who knew ET was a diamantaire.

Re:Slow day, Slashdot? (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573850)

Well the star's still there at least.

Re:Slow day, Slashdot? (1)

atrocious cowpat (850512) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574154)

Well, what we *really* know is it was there 56 years ago (actually ~59 years ago, according to the distance given in the wikipedia-entry (53 ly) [wikipedia.org] and the date of the press release (Feb. 2004) [harvard.edu]. :)

Re:Slow day, Slashdot? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33575086)

Does anyone know if there were any strange space/time anomalies around de Beers when this story first first broke? If so, we can say for certain the star-diamond isn't there now.

Old? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33573658)

This is from 2004, no?

Great... (5, Funny)

mseidl (828824) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573664)

Something else I can't afford but my wife will nag me about...

Re:Great... (0)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573986)

Something else I can't afford but my wife will nag me about...

Forget about nagging . . .

The cosmic diamond is a chunk of crystallised carbon, 4,000 km across, some 50 light-years from the Earth in the constellation Centaurus.

"Honey, I'm just going out for 50 light-years to pick up a diamond for you!"

When you get back, all your stuff will have been thrown out the windows onto the front lawn.

When guys go out, they never get back on time . . .

Investment noobie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33573704)

So are you saying that diamonds are not a good long-term investment?

Garbage (5, Funny)

mahiskali (1410019) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573714)

DeBeers has taught me that the only REAL diamond is from mined from the earth, possibly covered in blood.

It could still be a blood diamond. (1)

CHK6 (583097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573826)

Imagine a galactic war where the only way to win was to burnout and compress the star of the enemy. In the end you wipe out billions of life forms in one genocide moment and get a really huge diamond out of it.

Re:Garbage (2, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573838)

"My favorite diamond only appears on the tip of the tailbone of Ethiopian babies. They...they debone the babies. I know, I know, it sounds horrible when you say it out loud. But if you saw it...stunning. Absolutely stunning." -Sarah Silverman

6 year old Dupe (5, Informative)

SMoynihan (1647997) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573764)

This is a story from 2004, though it keeps popping up in the "most read" list on BBC news. Also, it was reported [slashdot.org] on Slashdot 6 years ago.

Where Is All The Leaked B.P. Gulf Oil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33573788)

should be news, not this CRAP.

Yours In Detroit,
Kilgore Trout

Re:Where Is All The Leaked B.P. Gulf Oil? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573902)

Oil is a source of carbon. Diamond is made of carbon. Therefore the answer is obvious: The oil was beamed up to form the diamond star.

It's not just slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33573798)

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/02/14/0123206

What is the record for thread necromancy? LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33573808)

OMG, what is the record for thread necromancy? I think we should start a new thread on the subject.

Are NASA using the imperial system again? (1)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573810)

theres quite a difference between 4KM (title) and 4000KM (article summary)

Or are slashdot admins smoking da weed again?

Re:Are NASA using the imperial system again? (1)

benjymous (69893) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573946)

Now concentrate this time, Dougal. These chunks of crystallised carbon are very small; those are far away...

Re:Are NASA using the imperial system again? (1)

SMoynihan (1647997) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574050)

Going by the last time [slashdot.org] Slashdot reported this, it's 4,000 km. Or 2,500 miles, as Slashdot-units were imperial way back in 2004...

Re:Are NASA using the imperial system again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33574640)

And there's quite a difference between km (kilometer) and KM (kelvinmega).

Blood diamond? (2, Funny)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573832)

I'd like to see a Nigerian try to smuggle THAT diamond in his butt.

Re:Blood diamond? (4, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574178)

I have a URL for you, but cannot post it because I am at work.

The first part is the name of a domesticated animal of the Bovidae [wikipedia.org] family. The second part (appended immediately to the previous word) is the TLD for Sweden. The TLD for the domain is the NYSE abbreviation for Cemex SAB de CV.

Hope this helps.

Re:Blood diamond? (1, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574390)

I am a Nigerian Prince and I have a URL for you, which when accessed will give you access to 10 million dollers,

Unfortunately I cannot post the link on this site, but if you visit wvw.stealyouraccountdata.c0m I can give you the direct link to near unlimited wealth!

Please to help me as if 2 thousands of people visit the site, I shall be freed from jail. I am Nigerian prince, and have lots of money, so you can be sure this no is scam. I also recently found 4,000km large diamond which I try to smuggle out from jail. I share with you when I am free.

Sincrly
Nigerian Prince

Re:Blood diamond? (0)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574552)

goatse man recently tried to smuggle the diamond star in his rectum, but he was too loose and it kept falling out

Not a black hole? (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 3 years ago | (#33573870)

I thought old stars of our Sun's size and larger became black holes when they shuffled off their mortal coils.

Re:Not a black hole? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33573990)

No, our Sun isn't nearly large enough to become a black hole.

Re:Not a black hole? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33574040)

It takes a star to be about ten times the size of our sun, minimum, to be heavy enough to create a black hole. Our sun will go: Red Giant -> White Dwarf -> Brown Dwarf at the end of its life cycle. Supernovae and Black holes require more energetic and large stars than our tiny yellow dwarf star. We should be glad for this, because they also live alot longer than larger stars.

Re:Not a black hole? (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574296)

No, our Sun is too small for a black hole. This (making "diamonds") should happen to our star, from the wiki:

Helium fusion will begin when the core temperature reaches around 100,000,000 K and will produce carbon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun#Life_cycle [wikipedia.org]

So, once it burns up all the hydrogen, then the helium will be consumed and produce the carbon, and the shiny shiny diamonds will come next, then ???, then profit!!1! Dibs!

Why carbon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33573886)

So, my basic understanding is that a star will fuse elements up to iron, so what happened to all the other elements? Is a carbon diamond the only stable thing that formed?

Re:Why carbon? (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574344)

I think you need a bigger star to make heavier elements. One this size comes down to mostly carbon and oxygen. And what it forms cant really be a diamond, since it does have quite a bit of oxygen. But apparently it's a crystal of some sort.

Re:Why carbon? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33575026)

So, my basic understanding is that a star will fuse elements up to iron, so what happened to all the other elements? Is a carbon diamond the only stable thing that formed?

I believe it depends on the size of the star. Stars of this size are simply not large enough to fuse anything beyond carbon. Once it hits carbon, that's it, it stops.

That could be worth more than three months salary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33573914)

How many carats would that be???

That's going... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33573938)

to take some effort if you were going to smuggle it past airport security.

Not QUITE what the song's believed to be about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33573998)

Astronomers have decided to call the star 'Lucy' after the Beatles song, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

Writers and music lovers then sighed deeply and have decided to collectively issue a dope-slap to astronomers for the terrible joke.

Arthur C. Clarke reference (1, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574266)

The article is probably wrong. It's likely a reference to 2061, where they find that Mt. Zeus on Ganymede is a giant diamond. The message sent back to Earth is, "LUCY IS HERE".

Re:Arthur C. Clarke reference (0, Redundant)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574402)

Please mod the post above Informative.

I guess the submitter only knows his Beatles, and not his Clarke.

Re:Arthur C. Clarke reference (1)

doconnor (134648) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574606)

Actually Mt. Zeus was on Europa, not Ganymede.

The giant diamond was one of many ejected from Jupiter when it ignited in 2010 and collided with Europa.

Re:Arthur C. Clarke reference (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#33575170)

Actually Mt. Zeus was on Europa, not Ganymede.

Ah, thanks. The old noodle is a bit rusty - a good read back in high school!

Re:Arthur C. Clarke reference (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574898)

In the 2061 novel Jupitor underwent contraction to implode into a star. Being composed of Hydrogen and Methane (which is part carbon and part hydrogen) the emplosion caused the methane to split into its' compoent parts and the carbon was ejected as diamond which landed on Europa. I'm not sure how correct the science here is, but it sounds possible. Clark called the mountain 'Lucy' after the Beatles song. Interresting to speculate that the Beatles would still be popular in 2061, which will probably be true.

Carat weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33574214)

My off the cuff calculation puts that somewhere around 150 quadrillion carats. Suddenly, the engagement ring I bought my fiance doesn't seem very impressive.

Get rich quick scheme (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574218)

This allows a new get rich quick scheme:

1) Fly 50 years to there at the speed of light
2) Mine the diamonds
3) Fly back 50 years
4) If you were able to get older than 100 years, you're now rich, enjoy!

Re:Get rich quick scheme (1)

dkuntz (220364) | more than 3 years ago | (#33575146)

Unless you go by the theory that time doesnt flow at the same speed if you're traveling the speed of light, and you might not age, or age in reverse... or just turn to a puddle of primordial ooze..

Lucy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33574560)

I wonder if they are aware that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was named after LSD. So, just maybe that name Lucy is slightly out of context, unless that piece of carbon is psychedelic as well.

Worth it? (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574614)

A 4000km sphere has the volume of 3.35e19 m^3. In diamond, that masses at 1.18e20 tons, or 5.9e26 carats. At $5500/carat it's worth $3e30.
Current railroad rates are 3c/ton*mile (there being no current space freight rates), so you'd pay $1e33 to bring it here.
To summarize:

A 6e26 carat diamond: $3e30
Transportation: $1e33
Giving your gold digger girlfriend an engagement ring she is not fat enough to wear: priceless

Big Gong (1)

toxonix (1793960) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574766)

'The white dwarf is not only radiant but also rings like a gigantic gong" What does a diamond gong that size sound like? "BLING!!!"

From TFA: (2, Insightful)

insnprsn (1202137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574774)

Last Updated: Monday, 16 February 2004, 15:31 GMT

My first thought reading the headline was, another one? Wait there's already a diamond star named Lucy.

Is there a colony of humans near this star? (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574846)

This was the plot of an episode of Doctor Who back in 2007 ("Utopia"). In that story, Utopia was said to be a planet where the skies were made of diamonds.

Maybe the Master is on his way to our time right now to be elected Prime Minister of Great Britain?

impossible (3, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#33574930)

This is obviously a hoax. Any early elementary school student can tell you that "diamond" and "star" are two entirely different shapes.

This "news" is almost 7 years old? (1)

hsoftdev17 (1701106) | more than 3 years ago | (#33575216)

This is the same info that came out ages ago. Even the BBC link happily reports "Last Updated: Monday, 16 February 2004, 15:31 GMT" Why is this appearing on slashdot today?

Not worth that much. (1, Insightful)

formfeed (703859) | more than 3 years ago | (#33575402)

While you all marvel about the size of this diamond, let's not forget this is an uncut diamond we're talking about.
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