The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Oct 12, 2012
 

Astronomers find diamond planet twice the size of Earth

 
 

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Twinkling stars are not the only diamonds in the sky. Scientists reported on Thursday the existence of a "diamond planet" twice the size of Earth and eight times its mass, zooming around a nearby star.

In fact, this is not the first diamond planet ever discovered, but it is the first found orbiting a sun-like star and whose chemical makeup has been specified.

The discovery means that distant rocky planets can no longer be assumed to have chemical constituents, interiors, atmospheres or biologies similar to those of Earth, said lead researcher Nikku Madhusudhan, a Yale postdoctoral researcher in physics and astronomy.

The planet was first observed last year - but researchers initially assumed it was similar in its chemical make-up to Earth.