Sunday, August 28, 2011

A planet made of Diamonds?

Back in 2007, I wrote this article which dealt with the "discovery" of the largest diamond in the galaxy, which scientists concluded was the exposed core of a white dwarf star. So when I first started seeing this article making the rounds, I just figured that it was new people finding old stories. Then Tim Sayell sent me this Yahoo News item which deals not with white dwarf cores, but a very unusual planet!

Located about an eighth of the way toward the center of the Milky Way from the Earth, the strange crystalline planet is probably the remnant of a once-massive star that has lost its outer layers. Now this is at first glance the makings of a white dwarf, but the weirder thing is that even if it were the remnants of a massive star, it appears that the outer layers of the star's "atmosphere" were stripped off by a massive companion neutron star which it orbits every two hours. This orbit is so tight it would fit inside our own Sun!

It gets weirder still, carbon in a crystalline it, diamond like material. Knowing that it is small but with the ability to crush carbon down to a crystal mean ultra-massive - scientists calculate slightly more than Jupiter, but with such a small size, something in the area of 20 times as dense. Oxygen is likely to be present at the surface, but lighter elements like hydrogen and helium are not present.

Read complete article here Wikipedia article here


John said...

Now we just need to find a few more planets with Purple Horseshoes, Green clovers, yellow moons & the like...

Beam Me Up said...