Astronomers have found in the Universe diamond planet

09.12.2010

Pallab Ghosh, Bi-bi-si, Division of Science


Planet with an extremely high concentration of carbon — the first such known to science — has opened a group of American and British astronomers.


This discovery, scientists say, supports the assumption that there are planets in the universe, whose bodies are enriched in carbon surface and thus is a diamond or graphite placers.
 

Photo: Wasp 12b extremely warmed up the star around which turns



"We could see them on the mountains and ridges of diamonds" — said in an interview with BBC BBC lead researcher Dr. Nikki Madhusudhan.
 

The article, which he and his colleagues published in the journal Nature, brings to life new questions about the process of planet formation.

"It is fantastic"

Other scholars have called this discovery demonstration of mastery of the working group, which started with the fact that with the help of NASA space telescope, "Spitzer" detected thermal radiation from the planet's distant from us for 1200 light years.

Further, as explained in the running of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Dr. Marek Kukula, they calculated the composition of the atmosphere of a celestial body. "It's amazing what these scientists have initiated a process of isolating information about what constitutes a planet circling other stars," — says Dr. Kukula.

"This planet is thousands of times less bright than the star around which it revolves. And scientists had to use an insane amount of exact calculations to get at least some data — continues astronomer. — And what they can tell us something the composition of this particular planet — is — literally — it's fantastic. "

To date, more than 500 science knows so-called exoplanets, ie planets outside our solar system. And only recently became available to scientists the tools and methods of analysis, allowing to make at least the first steps toward understanding their composition.

A planet, which in question — is called Wasp 12b — first known on which more carbon than oxygen. It is a gas giant like Jupiter, for the most part it consists of hydrogen in the gaseous state. However, the core of the planet likely — a mixture of diamond, graphite and other carbon structures possibly liquid.

Sea of tar

The discovery suggests that our galaxy may well be an Earth-sized planet rich in carbon. But then, these planets are not quite like ours.
Diamond

On this planet, diamonds can be as much as in the world of sand

"Theoretical calculations show that they will form the basis of diamonds and graphite rocks — says Dr. Madhusudhan. — This means that in the mountains of huge masses of rock will consist of diamonds, they are there far more than on Earth."

 

Photo:
On this planet, diamonds can be as much as in the world of sand



In this case, the water on such planets would be a little adds the scientist. Instead — if the temperature is high enough — the surface must be composed of carbon-rich composite, such as tar.

But how prevalent are these "diamond" on the planet? In short, the astronomers of this until just do not know. But the fact that they managed to open one, could mean that they have at least started a movement to ensure that the answer to this question.

And Dr. Madhusudhan believes that such planets may be more than enough. "I am convinced that a fair share of exoplanets, which we found can be rich in carbon, and very fun to dream about that on such rocky planets sand can be a very rare raw materials, but diamonds are more than enough. But the more important question is how such planets formed. "

Now scientists are asking themselves: why Wasp 12b is so rich in terms of carbon than those of the planet, of which we know so far. The predominant theory today is that formed when the solar system planets, it was in excess of ice water. But in the case of Wasp 12b things could be different.

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