Artist’s concept of an evolved star – called white dwarf – in the process of solidifying into a crystal. Image via University of Warwick/Mark Garlick.
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Astronomers at the University of Warwick said this week they now have the first direct evidence that white dwarf stars – stars in an advanced stage of their evolution – ultimately solidify into crystals. That idea has been around for decades, but now new observations back it up. The astronomers who conducted this study say our skies must be filled with these crystal white dwarfs. They also point out that – long after it has swollen up as a red giant and swallowed the Earth – our sun is destined to become a crystal white dwarf, too, billions of years from now.
The new study – led by Pier-Emmanuel Tremblay – was published January 9, 2019 in the peer-reviewed journal Nature
Current models of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, suggest our galaxy alone currently contains about 10 billion white dwarfs. They are the hot, dense remnants of long-dead stars, essentially stellar cores, left behind after a star has exhausted its fuel supply and ...