A planet twice the size of the Earth and made up mostly of diamond has been discovered by astronomers.
Known as 55 Cancri e, the planet is one of five in orbit around a star 40 years light years away. The remarkable world is intolerably hot with an orbital period of only 18 hours making it an unlikely place to find life. What makes the planet truly incredible however is the fact that it is comprised primarily of solid diamond.
"This is our first glimpse of a world with a fundamentally different chemistry from Earth," said lead researcher Nikku Madhusudhan. "The surface of this planet is likely covered in graphite and diamond rather than water and granite."
"David Spergel, a professor of astronomy and chair of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University, who is not a co-author of the study, said: "This diamond-rich super-Earth is likely just one example of the rich sets of discoveries that await us as we begin to explore planets around nearby stars."
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