10 Billion Trillion Trillion-Carat Diamond
February 13, 2004
The heart of that burned-out star with the no-nonsense name is a sparkling diamond that weighs a staggering 10 billion trillion trillion carats. That's one followed by 34 zeros.
The hunk of celestial bling is an estimated 2,500 miles across, said Travis Metcalfe, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
"You would need a jeweler's loupe the size of the sun to grade this diamond," said Metcalfe, who led the team that discovered the gem.
The diamond is a massive chunk of crystallized carbon that lies about 300 trillion miles from Earth, in the constellation Centaurus.
The galaxy's largest diamond is formally known as a white dwarf, or the hot core of a dead sun.
Astronomers have suspected for decades that white dwarfs crystallized, but only recently were able to verify the hypothesis.
A paper detailing the discovery has been submitted to The Astrophysical Journal Letters for publication.
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