FOUND: A diamond the size of a planet (a really BIG planet)

Contributed by
Dec 15, 2012

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. 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.)

Discover writes:

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.