Dark Matter and Diamonds

I just so happens that dark matter and diamonds collided in my online world the last couple of days, all for my entertainment. Rebecca Pahle of The Mary Sue – A Guide to Girl Geek Culture, shared a great Rap video by Coma Niddy, explaining what is dark matter. I love it! It’s so much easier to get your head around these things when it’s entertaining.

You should check out Coma Niddy’s Youtube channel too. There’s other great stuff!

 

And the diamonds part, you ask? Do you know the song Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend? Well this planet, 55 Cancri e, in the constellation of Cancer, is the new girl’s best friend. A Yale research team announced that the planet, twice the size of Earth and orbiting a star, is a diamond planet!

Dark Matter and Diamonds

Dark Matter and Diamonds

Artist’s rendering of 55 Cancri e compared to Earth courtesy of Wikipedia

New research led by Yale University scientists suggests that a rocky planet twice Earth’s size orbiting a nearby star is a diamond planet.

“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 journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The planet — called 55 Cancri e — has a radius twice Earth’s, and a mass eight times greater, making it a “super-Earth.” It is one of five planets orbiting a sun-like star, 55 Cancri, that is located 40 light years from Earth yet visible to the naked eye in the constellation of Cancer.

The planet orbits at hyper speed — its year lasts just 18 hours, in contrast to Earth’s 365 days. It is also blazingly hot, with a temperature of about 3,900 degrees Fahrenheit, researchers said, a far cry from a habitable world.

The planet was first observed transiting its star last year, allowing astronomers to measure its radius for the first time. Go check out the rest of the article.

So you see this has been a week of dark matter and diamonds for me. Both extremely interesting and kind of fun to think of. Especially since there’s been torrential rain here, so no stargazing.

What has your week been like?

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