When one mentions stars, the image called to mind is a massive, constantly-exploding ball of hydrogen & helium.
Not so, claims ScienceNOW, the learned observer would be keeping their eyes out for the diamonds!
Well... it’s a tad hot for diamonds as such, but a lot of white dwarves have been found — not resting on white toadstools at the bottom of the garden, but whizzing along through space — with predominantly carbon atmospheres.
Naturally, this represents much confusion & surprise (well, what doesn’t in astronomy?) because the traditional way of looking at things demands that the carbon gradually formed from fusing H & He (via other elements), so there should be substantial dregs from this phase kicking around.
To put it simply, there ain’t.
My selfish reaction to this is “Excellent! We’re learning new things!” but many people express dismay at the fact that traditional approaches now have to be ploughed up & revised. Hey, guys, that’s how science was intended to work! (-: