"Everything about it would be bad," says Mark Hammergren, an astronomer at Adler Planetarium in Chicago, beginning with your attempt to scoop it up. Despite the fact that white dwarfs are fairly common throughout the universe, the nearest is 8.6 light-years away. Let's assume, though, that you've spent 8.6 years in your light-speed car and that the radiation and heat emanating from the star didn't kill you on your approach. White dwarfs are extremely dense stars, and their surface gravity is about 100,000 times as strong as Earth's. "You'd have to get your sample—which would be very hard to carve out—without falling onto the star and getting flattened into a plasma," Hammergren says. "And even then, the high pressure would cause the hydrogen atoms in your body to fuse into helium." (This type of reaction, by the way, is what triggers a hydrogen bomb.)
Then you'd have to worry about confinement. Freeing the sample from its superdense, high-pressure home and bringing it to Earth's relatively low-pressure environment would cause it to expand explosively without proper containment. But if it didn't blow up in your face—or vaporize your face, since the stuff's temperature ranges between 10,000˚ and 100,000˚F—and you somehow got it to your kitchen table, you'd be hard-pressed to feed yourself: A single teaspoon would weigh in excess of five tons. "You'd pop it into your mouth and it would fall unimpeded through your body, carve a channel through your gut, come out through your nether regions, and burrow a hole toward the center of the Earth," Hammergren says. "The good news is that it's not quite dense enough to have a strong enough gravitational field to rip you apart from the inside out."
It probably wouldn't be worth the trouble anyway, Hammergren laments. White dwarfs are mostly helium or carbon, so your teaspoonful would taste like a whiff of flavorless helium gas or a lick of coal. But if you're desperate for a taste of star, you don't really need to travel 8.6 light-years—your fridge is full of the stuff. Most of the elements that make up our bodies and everything around us were formed in the cores of stars and then belched out into the universe over billions of years. Basically everything you eat was once part of a star. Might we recommend some star fruit?
This article originally appeared in the November 2009 issue of Popular Science magazine.
yall are ignorant. a white dwarf star could not be eat, better yet held in a spoon. come back to me with a better question. and also it weight tons.
What is more racist a white dwarf or a brown dwarf?
"yall are ignorant. a white dwarf star could not be eat, better yet held in a spoon. come back to me with a better question. and also it weight tons."
What if you're spoon is made of neutron star?
then that would be an awsome spoon and i would use it for everything
It tastes like chicken
NOO it tastes like cantalope ! ! !
no way would it taste like cantaloupe or any other melon. it would taste like a dinosaur- shaped watermelon-flavored vitamin. p.s. what about a 1,000,000,000,000th of a singularity? would that pull you apart?
Did any of the tea partiers get some of it? You shd ask them.
Really? Is there really a need for pap like this? Is someone actually considering eating a white dwarf? If so, alert the Obama administration to create an impact report and develop a federally approved process to consume a white dwarf and possible side effects. Of course, the appropriate labelling would need to be applied to the star first. Conncentrate on real scientific articles that could actually affect us.
Must have been a slow news day.
Just because this article doesn't necessarily have even the slightest hint of reality involved, its still a valuable thought experiment, a nice exercise in imagination (which we do seem to be lacking). Hey its not gonna win any awards, but if it gets people thinking about things they don't normally thing about, in ways they don't normally think, that is a reward enough.
I think wolverine could eat a white dwarf. His healing powers would fix him up.
Doubtful, he would first have to crap it out, and thinking about that, his adamantium on his bones (who came up with that?), which came from space (I saw the movie, I'm not a geek), could have been a certain metal that reacted with neutron star to create the very dense metal you now have (god thats a mouthful), just hypothesizing that any of that was real of course (BTW that was very imaginative). Oh and I don't think he can heal the adamantium that was sucked from his skeleton
PS. I might be a little of a geek.
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hey, can I get a cuppla those for fog lights?
I think most people are trying to avoid foods that are too heavy anyway. A nice hydrogen nebula salad would go down a lot better.
"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." Aldous Huxley
Sooooo... what is a dwarf star compared to a black hole? Please answer.
11/14/09 at 9:26 am
"Really? Is there really a need for pap like this? Is someone actually considering eating a white dwarf? If so, alert the Obama administration to create an impact report and develop a federally approved process to consume a white dwarf and possible side effects. Of course, the appropriate labelling would need to be applied to the star first. Conncentrate on real scientific articles that could actually affect us.
Must have been a slow news day."
I am your name-ed that you see little value in this thought exercise. Scientific discovery is often enhanced when the scientist considers solutions to a given problem
even if it might appear, at first glance, ridiculous. This is the very definition of 'thinking outside the box'.
The question was directed to PS readers, many of whom have little scientific training if any at all. You and I might have known at first glance that the question posed an impossible scenario. We are the minority.
Which white dwarf star are we talking about? Taking a bite out of Danny DeVito makes my stomach turn.
Another rehashed article... from 4 years ago?!?! WTF Popsci?!?
Useless BS. The only astounding thing is that I see a host of new posters that got sucked into this dumb shit like mosquitoes who saw a light in the far off distance. This is 1 of at least 10 of these stupid "thought experiments" they have posted recently. They are taking tumbler style posts to attract brain dead idiots that have nothing better to do than point their ADD at an easy target. Smart, but they seriously need to commit to a type of reader. Spreading yourselves thin POPSCI. Train is coming and your d!cks on are the railroad tracks. I'm pulling out my popcorn. Let's see where this stunt goes.
If they were really intended as thought experiments it would be one thing but they are simply being used as dumb-chum. "What ifs".
"Do not try and bend the spoon. That is impossible. Only try and realize the truth - there is no spoon."
@ D49 they are not new posters. Those comments are from 2009... dumb chum yes, new posters, however, no.
I find the illustration to this article pretty to see. I hope what the young lady is about to consume conforms to passing what the FDA regulates for consumption. ;)
Now who's the mosquito?
If drilling to the center of the Earth were as easy is putting 5 tons in the space of the area of a teaspoon... drilling for oil would be very inexpensive... and someone would have tried it by now.
Everything has been tried before. Current humanity just has amnesia, with the egotistic belief that we are currently the most modern educated society to date, ever.
Please look away from those annoying pyramids and other monolithic structures, keep moving, keep moving…. Walk walk, thank you and over here is another wonderful example of modern man. LoL
Recycled articles good for the environment ok for you.
I don't care what the song says, everything old is not new again.
Um, can the white dwarf star come in pill form?
I am curious.