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“…in the sky, with diamonds…”

The planet 55 Cancri e, only 40 light years from Earth, in the constellation Cancer in the Milky Way galaxy, is likely covered with graphite and diamonds. Researchers at Yale University announced today that at least A THIRD of the planet’s mass (the equivalent of about 3 x the mass of Earth) could be diamond!

The planet was discovered in 2004, according to Its mass is about 8 times that of Earth and is visible to the naked eye!

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 peer-reviewed journal, Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Initially, scientists had called the planet a “super-Earth” and thought that the chemical makeup of the planet was similar to Earth and that it was covered with superheated water.

However, the scientists at Yale say:

..the new research suggests the planet has no water at all, and appears to be composed primarily of carbon (as graphite and diamond), iron, silicon carbide, and, possibly, some silicates. The study estimates that at least a third of the planet’s mass — the equivalent of about three Earth masses — could be diamond.

The planer 55 Cancri e is extremely hot with a surface of mostly graphite surrounding a thick layer of diamond, below which is a layer of silicon-based minerals surrounding a molten iron core.

-Bill at

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