top of page

Diamonds In The Sky

“Most white dwarfs are made mostly of carbon and oxygen and, at that temperature (2700° Celsius), 

given the density of the white dwarf, those elements would have crystallized.”

Prof. David Kaplan, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


“People ask me how you can really tell. Because there's no way you can go and observe it. It all boils down to chemistry. 

We think we're pretty certain.”

Dr Kevin Baines, University of Wisconsin-Madison


    Prof. Kaplan and his colleagues have identified the coldest, faintest white dwarf ever detected. It is an invisible 

companion to a pulsar named PSR J2222-0137. Because it is practically impossible to detect this white dwarf using optical and infrared light, the researchers calculated that its temperature must be no more than 2700° Celsius, by which temperature its mostly carbon and oxygen mass would have crystallized, not unlike a diamond. 

    Calculations made by Dr Baines and his colleagues suggest that diamonds are likely to have formed in the atmospheres of the Solar System’s gas giants (Saturn and Jupiter), which would fall to the rocky surface like hail. 

    In my work I use these theories as a starting point, mimicking the promise of instant wealth typically associated with the 19th century gold rushes. The three arrow shaped neon signs – “Earth-sized Chunk of Diamond ≈8238782500000000km” (the approximate distance to PSR J2222-0137), “Diamond Hail ≈1549798272km” (the approximate distance to Saturn) and “Diamond Hail ≈777313152 km” (the approximate distance to Jupiter) - are mounted on top of celestial object trackers. When switched on, these devices begin to track the celestial objects in the sky (sometimes pointing to the ground when they are below the horizon) and point the arrows in their directions. In this way the signs always show the way to these immense treasures. That is, if the theories are correct. 

bottom of page