Astronomers have spotted an exotic planet that seems to be made of diamond. Hold the phone. An entire PLANET made out of diamonds??
The new planet is far denser than any other known so far, and consists largely of carbon. Because it is so dense, scientists have calculated that the carob must be crystalline – so a large part of it would effectively be considered diamond.
Matthew Bailes, of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, said, “The evolutionary history and amazing density of the planet all suggest it is comprised of carbon – i.e. a massive diamond orbiting a neutron star every two hours in an orbit so tight it would fit inside our own sun.”
The planet is likely the remnant of a once-massive star that has lost its outer layers to the so-called pulsar star it orbits. It is located about 4,000 light years away – around an eighth of the way towards the center of the Milky Way.
The measurements suggest that the planet has slightly more mass than Jupiter but is 20 times as dense, and in addition to carbon, the new planet likely contains oxygen, though is probably increasingly rare toward the carbon-rich center.
So how many carats? What about the grade?
“In terms of what it would look like, I don’t know I could even speculate,” said Ben Stappers of the University of Manchester. “I don’t imagine that a picture of a very shiny object is what we’re looking at here.”
Well, maybe not YET…