RECENT LOCATIONS

Close
Add a location
Edit your saved locations

Astronomers discover 'diamond planet'


Illustration of the diamond-laden interior of 55 Cancri e (Image by Haven Giguere)
Illustration of the diamond-laden interior of 55 Cancri e (Image by Haven Giguere)

Cheryl Santa Maria, staff writer

October 11, 2012 — Now that's a lot of carats! Astronomers have found a planet twice the size of earth -- and it's largely comprised of diamond.

Astronomers at Yale University have discovered a planet twice the size of earth -- and about a third of it is diamond.

The planet is named 55 Cancri e. Scientists say it's orbiting a star that can be seen in our night sky.

But the planet is more than a hop, skip and a jump away, situated 40 light years from Earth in the Cancer constellation.

“This is our first glimpse of a rocky world with a fundamentally different chemistry from Earth,” said lead researcher Nikku Madhusudhan, a Yale postdoctoral researcher in physics and astronomy, in a statement.

“The surface of this planet is likely covered in graphite and diamond rather than water and granite.”

The planet's radius is twice the size of earth, but it weighs 8 times the mass of our planet. It's also unbearably hot: Surface temperatures can climb as high as 1,648°C.

Scientists say the planet orbits at "hyper speed", with a year lasting a mere 18 hours.


Sign in or Sign up to submit a comment.




Comments





Take your weather with you, no matter where you go.

Get instant forecasts and alerts, right on your computer.

  • RSS & Data
Add weather updates to your website or RSS reader.