Diamond Planet Discovered by Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne Astronomers

By on Aug 26, 2011 in Amazing, Astronomy, Australia, Science, World Comments

Diamond Planet illustration (Pulsar J1719-1438)
Image Credit: Swinburne Astronomy Productions
Swinburne University of Technology

A so-called diamond planet has been discovered by astronomers orbiting a pulsar about 4,000 light-years away, according to reports by several international news sites, August 26, 2011.

The new planet, orbiting the pulsar PSR J1719-1438, is thought to be denser than platinum, yet made up entirely of oxygen and carbon, reports said.

Recent reports also mentioned that forces upon the planet are so extreme and scientists believe the planet must be largely crystalline and it’s likely in a form of diamond as well.

“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”, Matthew Bailes of Swinburne University ofTechnology, Melbourne said in a statement.

Moreover, scientist believed the planet is probably the remnant of a once-massive star that has lost its outer layers to the so-called pulsar star it orbits.

Pulsars, on the other hand, are tiny, dead neutron stars that are only around 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) in diameter and spin hundreds of times a second, emitting beam of radiation, reports said.

Recent reports also mentioned that in addition to carbon, the new planet is also likely to contain oxygen, maybe more prevalent at the surface and is probably increasingly rare towards the carbon-rich centre.

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