October 13, 2012

Twinkle, twinkle: Astronomers reveal the diamond covered planet twice the size of Earth

55 Cancrie E visible with the naked eye from Earth
The planet's surface is believe to be covered in diamonds and graphite

An artist's impression of the 'diamond planet' twice the size of Earth

A planet which really does twinkle like a diamond in the sky has been discovered by scientists - its surface is littered with the precious stones.

The planet - called 55 Cancri E - has a radius double the size of Earth’s, and weighs eight times more.
 
Whilst Earth’s surface is covered in water and granite, the new planet is thought to be covered in diamonds and graphite

HOW TO SEE IT
The planet-hosting star 55 Cancri in the constellation of Cancer.
The star is visible to the naked eye, although researchers say it is easier to find through binoculars.
For the exact location, see the sky map below.

A new study estimates that at least a third of the planet’s mass - the equivalent of the weight of three Earths - could be diamond.

This is the first time astronomers have identified a likely diamond planet around a sun-like star and unearthed its chemical make-up.

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