Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
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White Dwarfs Observed Turning into Crystals | Astronomy

White Dwarfs Observed Turning into Crystals | Astronomy

"This is the first direct evidence that white dwarfs crystallise, or transition from liquid to solid", University of Warwick physicist Pier-Emmanuel Tremblay said in a press release.

"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.

'All white dwarfs will crystallise at some point in their evolution, although more massive white dwarfs go through the process sooner. This is due to a phase transition during their lifecycle similar to water turning into ice, but at higher temperatures.

Astronomers identified the first direct evidence that old stars turn to rock when they run out of nuclear fuel and begin to cool down.

The twinkling orb may look similar to the other fiery stars around it, but it is actually a flawless sphere of crystal.

They distinguished a heap up, an excess in the number of stars at explicit colors and luminosities that don't compare to any single mass or age. Thanks to the precise measurements that it is capable of, we have understood the interior of white dwarfs in a way that we never expected.

Eventually, the sun will cool off and become a giant crystal floating through space. You would just have to wait around for another 10 billion years to actually see it.

An artist’s impression of some possible evolutionary pathways for stars of different initial masses. Some proto-stars brown dwarfs never actually get hot enough to ignite into fully-fledged stars and simply cool off and fade away. Red dwarfs the mos

My assumption scientists build on the analysis of more than 15 thousand white dwarfs, distant from the Earth at a distance of 300 light 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. As for our Sun, the researcher and his colleagues estimate that it will undergo the crystallization process in around 10 billion years, give or take.

An artist's impression of crystallization in a white dwarf star.

According to the authors of the new paper, the release of heat energy alone would not be enough to account for their observations.

'This means that billions of white dwarfs in our galaxy have already completed the process and are essentially crystal spheres in the sky. They believe that the missing energy could be released in the form of gravitational energy, created as carbon is pushed to the surface of the star by falling oxygen that had crystallized earlier in the process.

"We realised that this was not a distinct population of white dwarfs, but the effect of the cooling and crystallisation predicted 50 years ago".

"It's exciting how scanning stars across the sky and measuring their properties can lead to evidence of plasma phenomena in matter so dense that cannot be tested in the laboratory".

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