Friday, October 12, 2012
Diamond Planet Twice Of Our Earth Discovered
Orbiting a star that is visible to the naked eye, astronomers have discovered a planet twice the size of our earth largely made out of diamond, The rocky planet called 55 Cancrie e" orbits a sun-like star in the constellation of cancer and is moving so fast that a year there lasts for only 18 hours. Discovered by a US-Franco research team, its radius is twice that of earth's but it is more dense with a mass eight times greater. It is also incredibly hot, with temperature on its surface reaching 3,900 degrees farenheit ( 1,648 Celcius). " The surface of this planet is likely covered in graphite and diamond rather than water and granite," said Nikku Madhusudhan, the Yale researchers whose findings are to be published in Astrophysical Journal Letters. The study with Olivier Mousis at the Institut de Recherde en Astrophysique et Planetologie in Toulouse, France estimates that at least a third of planet's mass, the equivalent of about three earth masses could be diamond. Diamond planets have been spotted before, but his is first time one has been seen orbiting sun-like star and studied in such detail. "This is our first glimpse of a rocky world with fundamentally different chemistry from earth," said Madhusudhan adding that the discovery of corbon-rich planet meant distant rocky planet could no longer be assumed to have constituents, interiors, atmospheres or biologies similar to earth. David Spergel, an astronomer at Princeton University, said itwas relatively simple to work out the basic structure and a history of a star once you now its mass and age. "Planets are much more complex. This diamond -rich super earth is likely just one example of the rich sets of discoveries that awaits us as we begin to explore planets around nearby stars." "Nearby" is a relative term in astronomy. Any fortune- hunter not dissuaded by the "Diamond as Big As Ritz" F.Scott Fitzgerald's jazz age morality tale of the thwarted greed, will find Cancri e about 40 light years or 230 trillion miles from USA.