The Straits Times
Published on Oct 11, 2012

Astronomers discover unimaginably large diamond in space


LONDON (REUTERS) - Astronomers have discovered a planet twice the size of Earth made largely out of diamond that is orbiting a star visible with the naked eye.

The rocky planet, called "55 Cancri e", orbits a sun-like star 40 light years away in the constellation of Cancer and is moving so fast that a year there lasts a mere 18 hours.

Discovered by a US-Franco research team, its radius is twice that of Earth's, but it is much more dense with a mass eight times greater. It is also incredibly hot, with temperatures on its surface reaching 3,900 deg F.

"The surface of this planet is likely covered in graphite and diamond rather than water and granite," said Yale researcher Nikku Madhusudhan whose findings are due to be published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.