Indian Astronomer Discovers “Planet of Diamonds”


TNI Bureau: India-born astronomer Nikku Madhusudhan a post doctoral researcher at Yale University has discovered an exoplanet which is made of nothing but diamond.

The newly discovered planet, “Canceri e,” is reportedly eight times heavier and has twice the radius of Earth. Madhusudhan calls the rocky planet as ‘Super Earth’.

“In comparison to Earth’s 365 days for a year, Canceri e just takes 18 hours to complete one revolution around its sun. The planet is located some 40 light years away from the earth, yet it is visible to the naked eye in the constellation of Cancer”, scientists said.

One light year is about 9.5 trillion kilometers – the distance light travels in one year. ‘The planet’s surface is probably covered in graphite and diamond rather than water and granite,’ Madhusudhan said.

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This is his second major discovery of an exoplanet rich in carbon. The astronomer, a product of Banaras Hindu University, combines astronomical observations with computer modeling to figure out planetary atmosphere.

Diamond planets have been spotted before but this is the first time one has been seen orbiting a sun-like star and studied in such detail. The planet, along with four others, orbits a sun-like star, 55 Cancri – located 40 light years away from here. The star is, however, visible to the naked eye in the constellation of Cancer from Earth.

Scientists say the planet has a temperature of about 3,900 degrees Fahrenheit, which is unsuitable to habitate  or sustain a life.The analysis suggests the planet has no water at all, and appears to be composed primarily of carbon (as graphite and diamond), iron, silicon carbide, and, possibly, some silicates.

The study estimates that at least one-third of the planet’s mass could be diamond.


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