A hyper dense pulsar circles a massive star – pulling the upper atmosphere and gases away and throwing them out in to the cosmos. Despite its size, the star is helpless – locked as it is in a gravitational dance with the pulsar. Year by year the star’s atmosphere of hydrogen and helium is stripped away until all that is left is its crystalline carbon-rich core – left to circle the now dominant pulsar.
This is a scenario that may have preceded the recent discovery by scientists, led by Matthew Bailes at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, reported in Science this week. The diamond planet is only 5 times the size of the Earth but has a mass greater than that of Jupiter. It orbits the pulsar in little more than 2 hours.
Read the press release from the Swinburne University of Technology here: A planet made of diamond
Read the Science relese here: Diamond planet orbits a pulsar