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Nearby super-Earth likely a diamond planet. New research led by Yale University scientists suggests that a rocky planet twice Earth's size orbiting a nearby star is a diamond planet. "This is our first glimpse of a rocky world with a fundamentally different chemistry from Earth," said lead researcher Nikku Madhusudhan, a Yale postdoctoral researcher in physics and astronomy. "The surface of this planet is likely covered in graphite and diamond rather than water and granite." The paper reporting the findings has been accepted for publication in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters. The planet — called 55 Cancri e — has a radius twice Earth's, and a mass eight times greater, making it a "super-Earth." It is one of five planets orbiting a sun-like star, 55 Cancri, that is located 40 light years from Earth yet visible to the naked eye in the constellation of Cancer. The planet orbits at hyper speed — its year lasts just 18 hours, in contrast to Earth's 365 days. It is also blazingly hot, with a temperature of about 3,900 degrees Fahrenheit, researchers said, a far cry from a habitable world. The planet was first observed transiting its star last year, allowing astronomers to measure its radius for the first time. This new information, combined with the most recent estimate of its mass, allowed Madhusudhan and colleagues to infer its chemical composition using models of its interior and by computing all possible combinations of elements and compounds that would yield those specific characteristics. Star map showing the planet-hosting star 55 Cancri in the constellation of Cancer. The star is visible to the naked eye, though better through binoculars. (Image by Nikku Madhusudhan; created using Sky Map Online). Astronomers had previously reported that the host star has more carbon than oxygen, and Madhusudhan and colleagues confirmed that substantial amounts of carbon and silicon carbide, and a negligible amount of water ice, were available during the planet's formation... Read the full story »

Diamond planet super-Earth is twice the size of planet Earth. Discovered 40 light years from us WWW.GOODNEWS.WS
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