Friday, October 12, 2012

Diamond Bigger Than Earth?

An illustration of the interior of 55 Cancri e — an extremely hot planet with a surface of mostly graphite surrounding a thick layer of diamond, below which is a layer of silicon-based minerals and a molten iron core at the center. REUTERS-Haven Giguere-Yale University

The planet 55 Cancri e in an undated artist's conception. Astronomers have discovered a planet twice the size of Earth made largely out of diamond which is orbiting a star that is visible with the naked eye. REUTERS-NASA

LONDON | Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:45pm EDT
(Reuters) - Forget the diamond as big as the Ritz. This one's bigger than planet Earth.
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 with a mass eight times greater. That would give it the same density as Earth, although previously observed diamond planets are reckoned to be a lot more dense. It is also incredibly hot, with temperatures on its surface reaching 3,900 degrees Fahrenheit (1,648 Celsius).

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Source: Reuters.


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