Friday, August 26, 2011

A jewel in space

Astronomers think they have discovered in our Milky Way a planet while diamond.

The discovery was made by an international team of researchers led by Professor Matthew Bailes of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, and is reported in the journal Science.

This planet, located at 4000 light years from Earth, orbiting a pulsar, a tiny neutron star spinning rapidly on itself. She goes around very quickly (2:10 min) and would be only 600 000 km from its star, or even the radius of the Sun.

The planet is also quite small, about five times the diameter of the Earth, but instead a mass close to that of Jupiter. Astronomers believe that it is the remnant of a star, a white dwarf, the majority of the material has been drawn by the pulsar.

"What remains is composed of carbon and oxygen," said Dr. Michael Keith (CSIRO), a member of the research team. The density of this planet means that this material is probably in crystalline form: in other words, it consists mainly of diamonds.

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