New Delhi: A new research suggests the existence of a "diamond planet", which is twice the size of Earth and eight times its mass.
The planet discovered by a US Franco research team, called `55 Cancri e`, orbits a sun-like star in the constellation of Cancer and is moving so fast that a year there lasts a mere 18 hours.
The radius of the rocky planet is twice that of Earth. It is also incredibly hot, with temperatures on its surface reaching 3,900 degrees Fahrenheit (1,648 Celsius).
Nikku Madhusudhan, the lead researcher, was quoted saying to a news agency that "The surface of this planet is likely covered in graphite and diamond rather than water and granite”.
"This is our first glimpse of a rocky world with a fundamentally different chemistry from Earth," Madhusudhan said, adding that the discovery of the carbon-rich planet meant distant rocky planets could no longer be assumed to have chemical constituents, interiors, atmospheres, or biologies similar to Earth.
Diamond planets have been spotted before but this is the first time one has been seen orbiting a sun-like star and studied in such detail.
(With Agency inputs)
Image Courtesy: Haven Giguere/dailymail.co.uk