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Astronomers may have discovered diamond-rich exoplanet

Posted on Sunday, December 12 2010 @ 02:05:40 CET by


A US-British team of astronomers has discovered a new exoplanet where diamonds could be as plentiful as sand on Earth. The new planet is called Wasp 12b, it's a gas giant that could have a core composed of some form of diamond, graphite and other carbon compounds, possibly in liquid form. The object is located 1,200 light years away and is superheated by its parent star. More details at BBC News.
The researchers say their discovery supports the idea there may be carbon-rich, rocky planets whose terrains are made up of diamonds or graphite.

"You might see land masses and mountains made up of diamonds," the lead researcher Dr Nikku Madhusudhan told BBC News.

The study in Nature journal raises new questions about how planets are formed.

The work has been described as an astonishing astronomical tour de force. They have detected the thermal radiation (heat) from a planet 1,200 light years away using Nasa's Spitzer Space Telescope.

From this information they have calculated the composition of its atmosphere, according to Dr Marek Kukula of the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London.



 



 

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