Astronomers have spotted a planet running around a small star which seems to be made of diamond. It lies 4000 lightyears away from earth.
Scientists got the hunch of it being made of diamond by the fact that it is the denser of any planets known so far, primarily because of huge carbon content which is in crystalline form (diamond). It also appears to contain oxygen at its outer surface.
“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, who have spotted this planet.
The planet seems to be the left off piece of a big star which gradually lost its outer layers to pulsar star which it is orbitting around. Pulsar stars are dead neutron stars that are only around 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) in diameter and spin hundreds of times a second, emitting beams of radiation.
The radiation from the star in this case named 1719-1438 have been detected by telescopes in Australia, UK and Hawaii.
The measurements suggest the planet, which orbits its star every two hours and 10 minutes, has slightly more mass than Jupiter but is 20 times as dense, Bailes and colleagues reported in the journal Science on Thursday.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Sophie Hares of Reuters)