Crystalline carbon planet with huge density is 4,000 light years away.
Scientists have discovered what they are dubbing a ‘diamond planet’, an object some 4,000 light years away in the Serpens constellation of the Milky Way which appears to have a crystalline carbon surface structure.
A team of astronomers in Australia, led by Matthew Bailes of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, first spotted the planet. They say the planet’s structure appears to be similar to that of diamond, likely to have been created by huge pressure within the constellation, and believe it is all that remains of a once-massive star. A year on the planet lasts just two hours and 10 minutes.
The new planet is said to have a far higher density than any other planet in our solar system, which is how Bailes and his team came to the conclusion that it must be made from crystalline carbon. “The evolutionary history and amazing density of the planet all suggest it is comprised of carbon, [that is] it is a massive diamond orbiting a neutron star every two hours in an orbit so tight it would fit inside our own sun”, Bailes says.
The planet, known as PSR J1719-1438, is five times the size of Earth, and rotates around a flashing star known as a very fast-spinning pulsar what’s called a millisecond pulsar. Scientists in Australia, Britain and Hawaii have been monitoring the diamond planet and there are already several theories regarding its density and consistence. It does not contain light elements, such as helium and hydrogen but due to its carbon make up its believes that the planet must contain oxygen.
And though we’d all like to image something glittering away in the galaxy looking like something from a sci-fi film, Ben Stappers of the University of Manchester said: “I don’t imagine that a picture of a very shiny object is what we’re looking at here."