Astronomers: We've found a planet made of diamond

Rushing tightly around a tiny star, this as-yet unnamed planet seems to be so dense that astronomers believe it is made of carbon and therefore is "a massive diamond".

Perhaps the biggest frustration for astronomers is that they can't get to the places that most interest them.

So please imagine the excitement--and vexation--of skygazers who believe they have discovered a planet that might just be the shiniest piece of bling out there. Reuters paints a picture of astronomers who feel like someone who has just been offered 27 carats over their chocolate pudding.

For there seems to be a planet orbiting tightly around a small star just down the road (in celestial terms) from Earth that is "a massive diamond."

If only Planet Tiffany could look like this. CC StevenDePolo/Flickr

Those last three words aren't mine. They are those of a seemingly very excited Matthew Bailes, a professor at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. For he told Reuters: "The evolutionary history and amazing density of the planet all suggest it is comprised of carbon...i.e a massive diamond orbiting a neutron star every two hours in an orbit so tight it would fit inside our own sun."

The discovery was reported yesterday in the journal Science.

Astronomers are theorizing that this as-yet unnamed planet--just 4,000 light years from us--is actually a relic of a star shed its outer layer to reveal its inner riches. Planet Tiffany (you have a problem with the name I've given it?) appears to be merely five times the size of Earth. The star it orbits every 2 hours and 10 minutes does have a very fetching name: J1719-1438.

Though radio telescopes have been detecting beams from the star, it is as yet impossible to know what Planet Tiffany really looks like. Some suggest it won't be quite the shiny object that one might imagine.

However, having witnessed Kim Kardashian's utter meltdown when she lost a $75,000 diamond earring in the water (her then-fiance threw her in as a little joke), I feel sure we have found the perfect location for the next season of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians."

 

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