When we were children and believed in fairy tales, we may have thought that stars were diamonds in space. Now we've learned that, in one case, there really IS a diamond in the sky.
Time.com reports that a diamond the size of Jupiter has been discovered, or rather, a planet the size of Jupiter has been determined to contain a core of compressed carbon (in other words, pure diamond).
This is the first planet-sized diamond to ever have been found, and its origins may be unique. This planet was originally a star.
Once upon a time, there were two binary stars orbiting each other. One was the size of the sun, and the other was 10 times larger. The larger star went supernova and became a pulsar, which we call PSR J1719-1438. (Although this star has more mass than our sun, it measures only 15 miles across.)
J1719-1438 siphoned matter from the surface of the star, stripping it of its outer layers of hydrogen and helium. This left a white dwarf--the core of a dead sun-sized star--that is made up of mostly carbon (with a bit of oxygen) and has only 0.1 percent of its original mass. Under the high pressure of the planet's own gravity, the carbon would crush into a crystalline form--that is, diamond.
Will we be able to carve a chunk out of the diamond planet and turn it into bling that would put the Koh-i-noor diamond to shame? Not very likely, at least not anytime soon: the planet is located 20 trillion miles away.
But when we do, we expect to live happily ever after.