Even Bigger than the Ritz
Many of us will remember the colossal mountain sized diamond written about in F. Scott. Fitzgerald’s “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” but few will expect the recent revelation surrounding a diamond planet. Yes, that’s right, a planet! Scientists have revealed this week, that a planet has been found, likely to be composed of carbon in the form of both graphite and diamond. This could well be the largest diamond in the Cosmos!
A year ago, a Yale scientist, Nikku Madhusudhan suggested that there was a chance that a carbon-rich astral body, or “diamond planet” could exist. Planets are far more complex to study than stars – a star’s mass and age, along with other characteristics, will indicate their structure and history. David Spergel of Princeton University, co-author of the study tells us that planets as being far more complex than this. He describes this particular discover as a “diamond-rich super-earth”
A Diamond-Rich Super-Earth
55 Cancri e to give the planet it’s correct name, is a real gem of a discovery. Having no water, the planet is likely to be composed almost entirely of Carbon, in the forms of Graphite and Diamond. A potential 33% of the planet’s mass could be in the form of diamond. Using models of the interior of the planet and complex computer software, scientists were able to suggest possible combinations of elements that would explain the data. The rocky planet is twice the size of our own planet Earth with a mass that is eight times greater. It is one of five planets orbiting the sun 55 Cancri and is located in the constellation of Cancer, almost 40 light years away. The planet orbits at a far greater rate than Earth and as a result, a year lasts an astonishing 18 hours and harbours a temperature in excess of 3900 degrees Fahrenheit. We would certainly be intrigued to see if scientists could estimate either the carat weight or diamond size of this particular rock!