A Planet Made of Diamond?!

Some independent research from one of our RGS Physics pupils:

‘The Diamond Planet’, also known by its less memorable title, PSR J1719-1438 b, is in fact composed almost solely of diamond, or crystalline carbon. Now how this planet came into existence is somewhat of a astronomical phenomenon.

 The formation of this planet is debatably more extraordinary than the actual planet itself. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (yep, I said it) there existed a binary star system. Firstly, a binary star system consists of 2 stars (suns) orbiting around their common centre of mass. This was all going swimmingly until one of the stars, coincidently known as PSR J1719-1438, decided it wanted to supernova (explodes and loses most of its mass…basically). This left it as a smaller, neutron star that spins extremely fast and emits beams of radiation from its poles, this is known as a pulsar.

Now usually in this case, the other star, in this case PSR J1719-1438 b would enter an unstable orbit and would collide and merge with the pulsar. However, in this case, the star did not collide, but instead orbited the pulsar like our earth orbits the sun. although instead of having an full orbit of 365 days, the soon to be diamond planet orbits its sun in around 150 minutes! Possessing an orbital radius tight enough to fit inside our own sun. Now because the planet is so close to its sun, the pulsar sucks all gas and the majority or matter from the planet, leaving it a raw carbon mass. Due to it also being very hot the Carbon is turned crystalline very quickly, forming the substance we know as diamond.

Seeing as the PSR J1719-1438 b is composed of diamond, you might assume it would be quite heavy, and you would be correct. It is in fact as dense as the gas giant known as Jupiter. However PSR J1719-1438 b is only 40% the size of jupiter, meaning its rather hefty.

 Now you may be thinking ‘we need to travel to this planet and bask in the copious amounts of gems’. Sadly that might be a little tricky due to the fact that PSR J1719-1438 b is around 4000 light years away, which is about 35761561186355.42 km away.





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