ABOUT THE DIAMOND: Diamond is a crystalline form of pure carbon that forms under intense heat and pressure -- conditions found in volcanic pipes, for example, or when meteors strike the earth, creating shock zones of high pressure and temperature. Diamond is the hardest known naturally occurring material, which is why it is popular for cutting and grinding tools, such as diamond-tipped drill bits or saws. Cultured diamonds are formed in the same way as natural mined gems, except they are created in a heavy steel chamber about the size of a washing machine. Lumps of carbon/coal are placed in a globe-shaped chamber, which is then sealed before raising the internal heat and pressure to the same conditions required to compress diamond.
ABOUT LIGHT AND THE VISIBLE SPECTRUM: Light travels in waves, and what we see as different colors of light is due to the different wavelengths of light waves. Red light waves are longer than blue light waves. White light is made up of all the colors mixed together. Scientists use these properties in order to recognize or measure many things. Atoms and molecules in any given substance produce, absorb or change light in very unique ways; light can be a chemical fingerprint, telling scientists which atoms and molecules are present. In the same way, astronomers can tell what chemical elements are present in stars. Astronomers pass starlight through a special instrument called a spectrograph, which separates the light into the various colors of the spectrum, like a prism. By studying how the spectrum changes, scientists can tell which chemicals make up the star, and even its temperature, density and speed.