Illustration: Mayank Chhaya
Diamond planets may be more common than what astronomers have believed so far, researchers at Yale University have announced. This announcement comes nearly three years after the discovery of an unnamed planet 4000 light years from Earth which is so dense that its carbon has to be crystalline or in other words full of raw diamonds. I wrote about that announcement on August 26, 2011, because it coincided with another diamond related story. Let me quote from my own post then before I tell you about the Yale research.
On the day astronomers announced the discovery of a planet made up of diamond was also the day Victoria’s Secret model Selita Ebanks announced that her vagina was scratched by her diamond-encrusted panties. I am unable to decide which announcement has greater significance. I am torn between the diamond planet and the diamond panties.
"The evolutionary history and amazing density of the planet all suggest it is comprised of carbon — i.e. a massive diamond orbiting a neutron star every two hours in an orbit so tight it would fit inside our own Sun," Matthew Bailes of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
“I don’t know about wearing diamonds on your crotch. It’s like you’re walking and scraping. This is not cohesive to get a man. No man wants a scratchy vagina,” Ebanks was quoted as saying The Huffington Posts’s Naughty but Nice Rob. There is touching innocence about her assertion that no man wants “a scratchy vagina.” She should not be so pessimistic. There is a whole world outside the dazzle of her diamonds.
Now the news comes courtesy of Yale scientists John Moriarty,Debra Fischer and Nikku Madhusudhan that there could be many more carbon-rich exoplanets than so far thought. These planets may have vast deposits of graphite or diamonds. Of course, the Yale scientists were not necessarily motivated by the diamond in the diamond planets but how such carbon-rich environments as believed to exist on these planets may affect habitability. Moriarty, who is a doctoral candidate, has been quoted by Eric Gershon of Yale News as saying, “Despite the relatively small amount of carbon on Earth, carbon has been critical for the emergence of life and the regulation of our climate through the carbon-silicate cycle. It’s an open question as to how carbon-rich chemistry will affect the habitability of exoplanets. We hope our findings will spark interest in research to help answer these questions.”
Incidentally, exoplanets are planets found outside our solar system.
Diamonds are valued on Earth because they are rare like gold is. If we lived on a diamond planet, then diamonds would be like river pebbles on Earth to which we pay next to no attention. We would go diamond skipping on water instead of stone skipping. It is all relative. It is a different story that there would be no us on a planet as dense with carbon as diamond planets are supposed to be.