Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Science | By Cecil Little

When the Solar Dies, a Big Crystal Will Take Its Place

When the Solar Dies, a Big Crystal Will Take Its Place

The crystal stars are called "White Dwarf Stars".

However, the death of a red dwarf and its subsequent transformation into a white dwarf does not mark the end of its evolutionary journey.

The researchers from the UK, Canada, and the USA gathered data from the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite and discovered the evidence that white dwarfs would also become solid crystals after their death.

They identified a pile-up, an excess in the number of stars at specific colors and luminosities that do not correspond to any single mass or age.

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"This is the first direct evidence that white dwarfs crystallize, or transition from liquid to solid", Dr. Pier-Emmanuel Tremblay from the University of Warwick's Department of Physics said in a statement.

White dwarfs are the residual cores of stars whose masses are similar to that of the Sun.

The study, published in the journal Nature, represents the first direct evidence of white dwarfs transitioning from a liquid to a solid state. If you were keeping track with a thermometer, you would find that the temperature of water stalls at zero degrees Celsius for a bit - the exact time that the H20 molecules are rearranging themselves into the crystal structure of ice.

In addition to that, fifty years ago it was predicted that a number of white dwarfs would be observed certain luminosities and colors due to crystallization.

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Half a century ago, theorists predicted that white dwarfs solidify into crystal over time - and the new research has found that this is indeed the case. The star stops dimming and appears much younger (up to two billion years) than its age. Before it begins to solidify and harden gradually, the sun will turn into a red giant, and from that moment it will begin to shrink down and turn into a white dwarf. Over the course of billions of years, the stellar husk continues to bleed heat, until the core finally cools to around 10 million °C. As a white dwarf, they continue to cool down for billions of years.

My assumption scientists build on the analysis of more than 15 thousand white dwarfs, distant from the Earth at a distance of 300 light years.

'This means that billions of white dwarfs in our galaxy have already completed the process and are essentially crystal spheres in the sky. Our sun is also expected to end its life in the same manner, crystallizing like a jewel in about 10 billion years.

"Not only do we have evidence of heat release upon solidification, but considerably more energy release is needed to explain the observations", added Tremblay.

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Understanding the gravitational energy release of dying stars and how it slows their cooling could help us determine the age of other stars. "This experiment on an ultra-dense matter is something that simply can not be performed in any laboratory on Earth".

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