Diamonds in the sky

Pulsar planet. Image credit: Swinburne Astronomy Productions

Meet the newly found pulsar and its carbon-made companion.

An international team of researchers led by Professor Matthew Bailes, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, found a millisecond pulsar using CSIRO Parkes radio telescope. The newly discovered pulsar, known as PSR JI719-1438, has a companion, a planet that orbits the pulsar in two hours and ten minutes.

The planet is small — less than 60,000km — and has slightly more mass than Jupiter. Given its density, the researchers believe it is crystalline and similar to a diamond.

The “˜diamon planet’ is what remains of a massive star that once collided with J1719-1438. The pulsar has a mass 1.4 times that of the Sun and rotates more than 10,000 times per minute. This binary system (name given to any two objects in space orbiting a common centre of mass) exists some 4,000 light”years away in the constellation of Serpens.

Learn more about the pulsar and its “˜diamond planet’ on this video: PulsarPlanet_Large_H264.mp4

Source: Swinburne University

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