The astronomers used the Parkes
radio telescope in western New South Wales to find the
carbon-based planet, which is denser than any other
discovered so far. A diamond forms when carbon is put
under immense pressure.
As the planet largely consists of carbon, 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 measures up
to 60,000 km across, is about five time Earth's diameter
and about 300 time heavier, as indicated by the
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
"The Parkes radio telescope
revealed a spinning star called a pulsar, which emits a
beam of radio waves," said Michael Keith of CSIRO
Astronomy and Space Science, and a member of the
planet is also likely to have oxygen as well as carbon.
The planet's high density suggests that lighter elements
like hydrogen and helium are not present. This
confluence of extraordinary factors led the researchers
to believe they had stumbled across something
"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.
The study was led by Professor
Matthew Bailes of Swinburne University of Technology in
and published in the journal Science.
"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," said Bailes.
The international research team
first detected an unusual star called a pulsar, a tiny
dead neutron star that spins around hundreds of times a
second and emits beams of radiation.
Irregular movements in the
beams gave scientists the hint that there was a
companion planet orbiting the pulsar, which then led
them to the diamond planet. Astronomers said only two of
the 1,800 known pulsars concealed planets and it is the
first diamond planet ever seen.
Researchers involved were not
certain what the planet would look like up close. The
astronomers believe the diamond planet is all that
remains of a once massive star, but most of its matter
has been siphoned off towards the pulsar it orbits
"In terms of what it would look
like, I don't know I could even speculate. I don't
imagine that a picture of a very shiny object is what
we're looking at here,” said Ben Stappers of the
University of Manchester, Reuters reported.
are favorite for humans who use it as a gemstone for
adornment. So after finding the planet made of diamonds,
will there be a future expedition to know more about it
or collect it?
It may not be possible as going
into constellation Serpens, which represents the
mythological serpent who revealed the secret of bringing
the dead back to life, will take 4,000 light years. But
let's wait till the researchers come out with close-up
pictures of the diamond planet.
Source = http://www.ibtimes.com/planet-made-diamonds-discovered-4000-light-years-away-305174