Space the Oddest Frontier...

Discussion in 'The Science Forum' started by tuffy52, Aug 26, 2011.

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  1. Space is rather large, when you come to think of it. So there's plenty of room for lots of weird stuff.

    But the "diamond" planet isn't that strange - it is the core of a dead (well, murdered, in this case) star. Once the core of a star accumulates enough helium, it'll start forming carbon (and some oxygen) through the "triple alpha" process. For small stars, this can happen very quickly - the "helium flash". However, further fusion, "carbon burning" to form neon and sodium, with some more oxygen and a little magnesium (more is made but the majority is unstable), takes a much larger star - on the order of ten times more massive than the sun. For medium stars, the helium fusion continues in a shell around the carbon core and is suspected to result in the outer layers being thrown off - so just leaving the core behind.

    So there are likely to be an awful lot of these stellar remnants floating around. Interesting that we've managed to spot one, though.
     
  2. I love this place - the breadth of knowledge is staggering.