Super-Earth planet likely to be pure diamond

Oct 14 (TruthDive): The alien planet discovered in 2004, which is called “super-Earth” and named 55 Cancri e was found in Milky Way galaxy zooming around a nearby star. The mass of the planet and its radius were estimated and after studying the composition of its host star, scientists say that the rocky matter is composed chiefly of carbon (in graphite and diamond form), silicon carbide, iron and silicates. It is found that nearly one- third of the mass of the planet is likely to be pure diamond.

Nikku Madhusudhan, the lead researcher of Yale University said this is the first planet discovered having a different chemistry compared to Earth. The planet’s surface is expected to be covered with diamond and graphite rather than granite and water.

55 Cancri e is expected to be the first “diamond planet” ever found near sun-like star. Such planets are very different from Earth, which contain little carbon. Kanani Lee, the co-author said Earth’s interior has high oxygen content, but less carbon content — less than 1/1000 by mass.

55 Cancri e is known as super-Earth, having radius twice than that of Earth and mass 8 times more than earth. It moves around its star, making one complete orbit in 18 hours, whereas Earth takes 365 days. Super Earth is very close to its host star, so the surface temperature of 55 Cancri e is about 2,100 degrees Celsius, (3,900 degrees Fahrenheit), which is very hot.

Previous studies about the planet suggested that it might be enclosed with “supercritical fluids,” that are high-pressure liquid-like gases leaking out of its rocks. This study was centred on the guess that 55 Cancri e had the same chemical makeup like Earth. The new discoveries suggest that there is no water in the planet.

The study says the diamond nature of the planet may be due to the different plate tectonics processes and thermal evolution than Earth that may create strange types of seismic activity, mountain formation and volcanism.

Five planets encircle the sun-like star, 55 Cancri and 55 Cancri e is one among the five planets. 55 Cancri lies at a distance of 40 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Cancer, which is very close and is obviously visible in night sky to our naked eye.

The researchers are further making observations of 55 Cancri e to determine its composition and analyse the atmosphere of this star system.

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