Image: Cutaway of white dwarf
Although hidden inside the core of a white dwarf, a cutaway view of the diamond star would show quite a sparkle.
updated 2/17/2004 11:19:22 PM ET 2004-02-18T04:19:22

If anyone's ever promised you the sun, the moon and the stars, tell 'em you'll settle for BPM 37093. 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 (4,000 kilometers) 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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