A Diamond Bigger Than The Moon
The biggest known diamond in the universe is 10-billion-trillion-trillion-carat (a one followed by 34 zeroes), and it’s right above Australia. Well, technically it’s 50 light years away in the constellation of Centaurus, right next to the Southern Cross, but let’s not be picky. Discovered on Valentine’s Day in 2004, the gem is actually the interior of a dead star: a white dwarf that used up all its nuclear fuel and collapsed in on itself, creating enormous pressures that crystallised its carbon core.
The cosmic jewel is hidden below a thin layer of hydrogen and helium gases, and it measures 4000 kilometres across and weighs 2.27 million trillion trillion kilograms. “You would need a jeweller’s loupe the size of the Sun to grade this diamond,” said Travis Metcalfe, who led the research into this star at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics. The largest diamond on Earth—the 530-carat Star of Africa—doesn’t stand a chance against this one. Don’t even think about slipping it on your fiancé’s ring finger.
In five billion years time, our own Sun will reach the end of its life and become a white dwarf, then after that its core will crystallise as well, leaving a giant diamond in the centre of our solar system.