A grandiose setting for an incredible discovery: the Libyan desert, in Egypt, in the heart of an area called “Great Sea of Sand”.
A region renowned for being littered with fragments of natural glass so impressive that Tutankhamun adorned himself with them.
We know that the formation of these translucent pearls goes back 29 million years.
A violent event—a collision with an asteroid?
—, would have generated so much heat that it would have caused the melting of the rock and created this open-air “workshop”.
In the middle of this treasure, an Egyptian geologist, Aly Barakat, discovered in 1996 an ugly little pebble of about thirty grams and 3.5 cm in length.
At first glance, nothing distinguishes black and ocher stone from ordinary granite.
Yet Hypatia (named after the ancient mathematician Hypatia) intrigues experts:
analysis after analysis, it denies all the assumptions about its origin.
In the new issue of the journal Icarus, researchers finally deliver its story: that of a star whose gluttony was fatal.
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