“Diamond” Planet Found; May Be Stripped Star
Exotic crystalline world orbits fast-spinning stellar corpse, study says.
An exotic planet as dense as diamond has been found in the Milky Way, and astronomers think the world is a former star that got transformed by its orbital partner.
The odd planet was discovered orbiting what’s known as a millisecond pulsar—a tiny, fast-spinning corpse of a massive star that died in a supernova.
Astronomers estimate that the newfound planet is 34,175 miles (55,000 kilometers) across, or about five times Earth’s diameter.
In addition, “we are very confident it has a density about 18 times that of water,” said study leader Matthew Bailes, an astronomer at the Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing in Melbourne, Australia.
“This means it can’t be made of gases like hydrogen and helium like most stars but [must be made of] heavier elements like carbon and oxygen, making it most likely crystalline in nature, like a diamond.”