Diamonds in the Sky

We found a new planet whose surface is probably covered in enough diamonds to fill three Earths.

Diamonds in the Sky Photo (cc) by Kim-bodia

Researchers have discovered a planet whose surface may be covered in diamonds. It’s twice as big as Earth, according to Reuters

Orbiting a star that is visible to the naked eye, astronomers have discovered a planet twice the size of our own made largely out of diamond.

The rocky planet, called ’55 Cancri e’, orbits a sun-like star in the constellation of Cancer and is moving so fast that a year there lasts a mere 18 hours.

Discovered by a U.S.-Franco research team, its radius is twice that of Earth’s but it is much more dense with a mass eight times greater. It is also incredibly hot, with temperatures on its surface reaching 3,900 degrees Fahrenheit (1,648 Celsius).

That’s a boring name for a planet made of diamond that covers a year of ground (or space) in 18 hours. We should call the planet Lucy. (You know, like the Beatles song.) Anyway, researchers believe the diamond accounts for at least a third of the planet’s mass – which would be the mass of three Earths.

Any chance we can mine it? Probably not, since it’s “about 40 light years, or 230 trillion miles” away.

Brandon Ballenger
Brandon Ballenger @btballenger
I'm a freelance journalist living in South Florida. If I'm not writing, I'm playing video games or at the beach. My favorite spice is oregano, and I thought you should know. I ... More

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