A Planet made of Diamond

The pulsar and its planet Credit: Swinburne Astronomy
The pulsar and its planet

A team of Researchers have found a “Diamond Planet” about 4000 light years away from Earth in the constellation of Serpens. This planet is orbiting a pulsar. Pulsar represents a small dense star and is generally believed to be a swiftly rotating neutron star emitting radiations periodically.

This pulsar is referred to as PSR J1719-1438 and the planet is thought to be denser than platinum and made up of oxygen and carbon. Due to the extreme forces upon the planet, scientists believe that it is of largely crystalline nature and consider it as a form of diamond.

This discovery is made by the Researchers from across different countries such as Australia, Italy, Germany, U.K. and U.S. and the Research team included Michael Kramer  from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany. The research has been published in the Journal Science.

The scientists believe that it is the only small part still left from a huge star in our Milky Way Galaxy. That star become a pulsar and was discovered in 2009. The size of the “Diamond Planet” is about 40% the size of the Jupiter i.e. about 34,175 miles (55,000 kilometers) across or approximately five times the diameter of Earth.

But in spite of this the mass of the planet is thought to be slightly more than Jupiter and density about 18 times that of water and this high density gave the scientists a clue that the planet is made up of carbon and oxygen rather than hydrogen and helium.

References and Further Reading:

Bailes, M. et. al. (2011). Transformation of a Star into a Planet in a Millisecond Pulsar Binary. Science.

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