As if we needed more proof that the world's getting wacky, astronomers have now given credence to anyone spouting off about "cosmic crystal energy" by announcing that mysterious microwaves found throughout the milky way, which have confounded scientists for 20 years, are caused by clouds of spinning diamonds that form around infant stars.
According to a paper published in Nature Astronomy, astronomers at the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, USA and the Australia Telescope Compact Array in New South Wales found that the so called "anomalous microwave emissions" which were first observed in 1996, are only emitted from stars surrounded by strange clouds of "nanodiamonds." These nanodiamonds are only about a millionth of a millimeter in size, but scientists say that the clouds are so dense that the total mass of the diamond clouds observed would be nearly on par with the planet Mercury. After this announcement, how long do you think will it take for De Beers to announce a space program?
In 1996, NASA scientists noticed inexplicable hot spots of microwave radiation in the map generated by the Cobe satellite, which mapped the still-visible radiation left over from the big bang. Until this discovery, the prevailing hypothesis for the cause of the anomalous microwave emissions was clouds of molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), but this idea was thrown out when scientists found PAH clouds with no associated microwaves and vice versa.
This is not the case with the newly discovered diamond clouds. Astronomer Jane Greaves at Cardiff University had been observing very young stars hoping to catch a star in the process of formation when she noticed a microwave radiation spike coming from the sole star with a ring of diamond dust around it. When Greaves discussed the observation with her colleague Anna Scaife at Manchester University, Scaife said she had observed the same thing in two other stars, each surrounded by the same kind of mysterious diamond cloud. The three stars observed by Greaves and Scaife—V892 Tau, HD 97048, and MWC 297—are the only three stars visible to us with these diamond rings, and the only observed sources of these microwave peaks. Greaves says:
"We’ve got three here and they are the only three stars anywhere known to have these diamonds around them. That was quite a shock. "
Because the diamond particles are so small, when they collide with each other they are set spinning incredible fast. Each of the diamond dust particles is electrically charged and carries a positive charge on one side and a negative charge on the other. When set spinning, the electrical charge of the diamond particles generates microwaves. The amount of individual diamond dust particles is hard to fathom. The individual particles are approximately one millionth of a meter wide, and there are enough of them to have a comparable weight to Mercury. That's a lot of spinning diamonds.
Scientists are unsure of what causes these diamond clouds to form in the first place, however. One possibility is that they form out of hot carbon vapor, while another possibility is that they are the remnants of destroyed galactic objects which found themselves sucked into the stars' gravity wells.
Immense clouds of spinning diamonds. Be sure to bring this up the next time you have to argue the artificial scarcity of diamonds.