In what can be called a gem of a discovery, astronomers found a rare planet made of diamonds, which would likely have oxygen apart from carbon. The carbon-based planet lies 4,000 light years away, in the constellation of Serpens in our Milky Way galaxy.
An exotic planet that seems to be made of diamond racing around a tiny star in our galactic backyard in an undated image courtesy of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourn
The Bottles of heaven is made up of Molten looking Glass or sea of glass like a diamond
The new planet, which is far denser than any other known so far, races around a tiny unusual star called a pulsar. The planet's high density suggests that lighter elements like hydrogen and helium are not present.
The planet is likely to be largely carbon and oxygen, because a star made of lighter elements like hydrogen and helium would be too big to fit the measured orbiting times, Keith said.
To find the largely carbon-based planet, astronomers from Australia, Germany, Italy, the UK and the U.S. used the Parkes 64-meter radio telescope in western New South Wales.
Scientists speculate that the conditions are right for the carbon within it to be crystallized -- in other words, a giant celestial diamond -- and believe it to be completely made of diamond.
The diamond planet, which is being dubbed as PSR J1719-1438, measures up to 60,000 km across, is about five time Earth's diameter and about 300 time heavier, as indicated by the astronomers' measurements. It orbits the pulsar in just two hours and 10 minutes.
It is believed to be the remnant of a once-massive star that lost its outer layers to the pulsar it orbits, leaving behind the crystallized core.
A diamond-crystal planet five times the size of Earth and with more mass than Jupiter has been discovered in our own Milky Way galaxy.
An international team of astronomers led by Swinburne University of Technology in Australia spotted the exotic planet racing around a tiny star 4,000 light years away and published their findings Thursday in the journal Science.
The “cosmic bling,” as Wired called it, is far denser than any other known planet, consisting mostly of carbon. It is because of this density that the carbon must be crystalline, making a large part of the planet diamond.
In addition to carbon, the new planet is likely to also harbor oxygen but not hydrogen and helium.
Astronomers believe the diamond planet was once a huge star of its own before a companion pulsar ripped off its outer later and stole most of its mass.
Pulsars are dead neutron stars that emit beams of high radiation that appear almost like blinking lights. The diamond planet orbits a fast-spinning pulsar that’s about 12 miles in diameter, around the same size as London.
Reuters reports that researchers from institutions in five countries used a variety of radio telescopes and 200,000 gigabytes of data to find the diamond planet and its companion pulsar.
Radio telescope data show that the glittery planet orbits its star at a distance of about 370,000 miles, making a year on planet diamond just two hours long.
Pulsar J1719-1438 is a very fast-spinning pulsar -- what's called a millisecond pulsar. It rotates more than 10,000 times per minute, has a mass of about 1.4 times that of our sun but is only 20 kilometers in diameter. About 70 per cent of millisecond pulsars have companions of some kind.
Astronomers believe it is the companion that, in its star form, transforms an old, dead pulsar into a millisecond pulsar by transferring matter and spinning it up to a very high speed. The result is a fast-spinning millisecond pulsar with a shrunken companion - most often a so-called white dwarf.