Tag: Extrasolar Planets

Diamonds Are Forever

Or at least a few billion years:

Astronomers have spotted an exotic planet that seems to be made of diamond racing around a tiny star in our galactic backyard.

The new planet is far denser than any other known so far and consists largely of carbon. Because it is so dense, scientists calculate the carbon must be crystalline, so a large part of this strange world will effectively be diamond.

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 Matthew Bailes of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne.

In 2010, Arthur C. Clarke speculated that the core of Jupiter might be gigantic diamond. In this case, it’s the core of a star that was mostly destroyed as the pulsar formed. Its karat weight is a 1 followed by 31 zeros, roughly enough to get engaged to every woman from now until a hundred billion trillion years from now (unless they are from LA, in which case you should knock a couple of zeros off). Every two hours, this rock whips around a stellar remnant that is the size of a small city, weighs 1.4 times as much as the Sun and spins on its axis every 5.7 milliseconds, with beams of radio light blasting out of its poles.

Is this a cool universe or what?