Scientists have found the biggest diamond in the universe, but it’s not on Earth. Astronomers found a diamond planet bigger than Earth orbiting a star similar to our sun.
It’s not the first time scientists discover diamond planets, but it was a premiere for the French astronomers to find one that is double our planet’s size and orbiting a sun-like star. The diamond planet has a mass eight times denser than the Earth, it’s incredibly hot and one year there is as short as 18 hours.
It looks like the more scientists look into the universe the more diverse planets they find. And this diamond planet is orbiting a star similar to our sun, 40 light years away in the Cancer constellation. The 55 Cancri diamond planet was discovered by a U.S. – French team.
“This is our first glimpse of a rocky world with a fundamentally different chemistry from Earth” said Nikku Madhusudhan, researcher at Yale University. “The surface of this planet is likely covered in graphite and diamond rather than water and granite” added the researcher.
The diamond planet is not as large as the other giants in the Solar System, but it has a radius twice that of the Earth and a mass eight times denser. According to the scientists that discovered it, at least a third of the planet’s mass is likely diamond. Extreme Tech explains that this means on 55 Cancri there is “a few trillion times more diamond than has ever been mined on Earth”.
Last year, when the diamond planet was first spotted, scientists thought it was a water planet, very similar to Earth. New information proved that the carbon, iron and silicon present on the planet and exercised by pressure and heat turned into diamond. The discovery of the diamond planet is just one step closer to making tons of Sci-Fi books reality, when different planets in the universe are mined for their resources, when the home planet had been dried off.
“Planets are much more complex. This ‘diamond-rich super-Earth’ is likely just one example of the rich sets of discoveries that await us as we begin to explore planets around nearby stars” said David Spergel, astronomer at Princeton University and part of the team that discovered 55 Cancri.