Emmanuel Tremblay, University Of Warwick, Disney discussed on BrainStuff
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This very month are dead star will leave behind a shimmering legacy. It'll turn into a massive crystal before we start talking about supersized stellar crystals. We first need to understand how stars like our sun live and die. The sun is fueled by nuclear fusion. It's massive gravity. Crushes hydrogen atoms together in its core to create helium and the vast quantities of energy released by these few impresses push outward. Maintaining a happy Librium so long as there's plenty of hydrogen fuel feeding this process. The core remains about the same size and temperature around fifteen million Kelvin producing energy that radiates throughout the. Solar system, ultimately nurturing, the evolution of life on a certain habitual planet. This hydrogen burning phase of a is life will last for ninety percent of the lifetime of our sun. The period of stellar life is known as the main sequence or currently about four point five billion years into our son's main sequence days or approximately halfway through its life. So what happens when that hydrogen is all used up things start to get a little wild to put it mildly without the outward pressure of the energy created by fusing hydrogen. The sun's gravity overwhelms. The core crushing it into a smaller space and boosting its temperature tenfold. That's okay, though, the heavier helium nuclei will begin to fuse together creating the outward pressure once again to maintain equilibrium. It's predicted that this will start happening in about five billion years marked with a sudden out rush of energy known as a helium flash as the helium fuses carbon and oxygen are formed and the temperature of the core rises yet again. Soon after even heavier elements also begin to fuse and the sun on the whole will start looking a bit worse for the wear. It will begin to swell blasting interplanetary space with savage. Solar. Winds will begin to strip away. It's upper layers, though, our son is at massive enough to explode as a supernova it will turn into a red giant star possibly expanding beyond the orbit of earth. Our planet will be toast. After the death of our star. It will leave behind wispy remains of solar plasma creating a beautiful planetary nebula enriched with newly formed heavy elements that will go on to create the next generation of stars and planets and in its core will be a hot stellar remnant known as a white dwarf a tiny, dense star shimmering brightly a testament to the sun that used to be in its place, white dwarfs can sustain themselves for billions of years before filling out and dimming forever. But this isn't the end of the story using observations by the European guy emission, which is currently making precision measurements of stars throughout our galaxy. Researchers at the university of Warwick in the UK have stumbled on a white dwarf secret that has remained hidden until now. Soon after forming white dwarfs are extremely hot radiating, the intense energy that was once held in the core of the main sequence star that came before them over billions of years after forming white dwarf slowly cool end at a certain point the oxygen in carbon they contain. We'll go through a phase transition akin to liquid water freezing and turning into solid ice only at much more extreme temperatures and pressures and they'll solidify to form a huge crystal Pierre, Emmanuel Tremblay from the university of Warwick's department of physics and leader of the study said in a press release all white dwarf will crystallize at some point in their evolution. Although more massive white dwarfs, go through the process sooner. This means that billions of white dwarfs in our galaxy have already completed the process and are essentially crystal spheres in the sky. The some itself will become a crystal white dwarf in about ten billion years. Tremblay's team, analyzed the guy survey shins to measure, the luminosity and colors of fifteen thousand white dwarfs within three hundred light years of earth. What they found was an excess in the population of stars of specific colors and brightness. They realized that this group of stars represented a similar phase in stellar evolution or the conditions are right for this phase transition to occur causing a delay in cooling, thus slowing down the aging process. The research found that some of these stars had extended their lifespan by up to two billion years Tremblay's said in the statement, this is the first direct evidence that white dwarfs crystallize or transition from liquid to solid. It was predicted fifty years ago that we should observe a pile up in the number of white dwarf said certain luminosity and colors due to crystallization. And only now has this been observed crystallized white dwarfs aren't just a stellar curiosity. Their quantum makeup is unlike anything we can recreate in the laboratory as the white star material crystallizes. It's material becomes ordered on a quantum level. Nuclei aligning themselves in a complex lattice with a metallic oxygen core and an outer layer enriched with carbon. So it turns out that after stars like our sun die their stories aren't over all white dwarfs will go through this crystallization process. Littering the galaxy with massive diamond like stellar remnants.