Yale researchers discover diamond planet twice the size of the Earth
A team of U.S-Franco scientists led by Yale University hit the jackpot by discovering not just another celestial body near the Earth, but one that it is likely to be covered in diamonds and it is twice the size of our planet.
"This is our first glimpse of a rocky world with a fundamentally different chemistry from Earth," said in a press release lead researcher Nikku Madhusudhan, a Yale postdoctoral researcher in physics and astronomy.
The scientists said this new planet is likely covered in diamond and graphite rather than water and granite, like other celestial bodies. It also holds significant amounts of iron ore, silicon carbide, and, possibly, some silicates say the experts.
The rocky planet orbits a sun-like star, called 55 Cancri e, 40 light years away in the constellation of Cancer and is moving so fast that a year there lasts a mere 18 hours.
Diamond planets — carbon-rich rocky bodies— have been spotted before but this is the first time one has been seen orbiting a sun-like star and studied in such detail.
Follow-up observations of the planet's atmosphere and additional estimates of the stellar composition would strengthen the findings about the planet's chemical composition.
The paper titled "A Possible Carbon-rich Interior in Super-Earth 55 Cancri e," which reports the findings has already been accepted for publication in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.