Monday, August 29, 2011

'The Dish' Finds A 'Diamond Planet' Orbiting Pulsar

Astronomers using 'The Dish' – CSIRO's radio telescope near Parkes, NSW – believe they've found a small planet made of diamond, orbiting an unusual star.

An artist's visualisation of the pulsar and its orbiting planet. 
An artist's visualisation of the pulsar and its orbiting planet. (Swinburne Astronomy Productions)
Credit: Swinburne Astronomy Productions

The discovery was made by an international research team, led by Professor Matthew Bailes of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, and is reported today in the journal Science.

"Although bizarre, this planet is evidence that we've got the right understanding of how these binary systems evolve," said Dr Michael Keith of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, one of the research team members.

The researchers, from Australia, Germany, Italy, the UK and the USA, first found an unusual star called a pulsar, now named PSR J1719-1438, using the 64-m Parkes radio telescope in eastern Australia.

Pulsars are small spinning stars about 20 km in diameter – the size of a small city – that emit a beam of radio waves. As the star spins and the radio beam sweeps repeatedly over Earth, radio telescopes detect a regular pattern of radio pulses.

The researchers followed up their discovery with the Lovell radio telescope in the UK and one of the Keck telescopes in Hawaii, and noticed that the arrival times of the pulsar's pulses were systematically altered – in a way that must be caused by the gravitational pull of a small planet orbiting the pulsar.

The modulations of the radio pulses reveal several things about the planet.

First, it orbits the pulsar in just two hours and ten minutes, and the distance between the two objects is 600,000 km – a little less than the radius of our Sun.

Second, the companion must be small, less than 60,000 km (that's about five times the Earth's diameter). The planet is so close to the pulsar that, if it were any bigger, it would be ripped apart by the pulsar's gravity.

But despite its small size, the planet has slightly more mass than Jupiter.

"This high density of the planet provides a clue to its origin," Professor Bailes said.

The team thinks that the 'diamond planet' is all that remains of a once-massive star, most of whose matter was siphoned off towards the pulsar.

But pulsar J1719-1438 and its companion are so close together that the companion can only be a very stripped-down 'white dwarf' star, one that has lost its outer layers and over 99.9 per cent of its original mass.

"This remnant is likely to be largely carbon and oxygen, because a star made of lighter elements like hydrogen and helium would be too big to fit the measured orbit," said CSIRO's Dr Keith.

The density means that this material is certain to be crystalline – that is, a large part of the star may be similar to a diamond.

The pulsar and its planet lie 4,000 light-years away in the constellation of Serpens (the Snake). The system is about an eighth of the way towards the Galactic Centre from the Earth.

Contacts and sources:
Helen Sim
CSIRO Australia

4 comments:

  1. I found out, that taking herbal treatment is the best to get rid of hpv as soon as i feel the symptoms of hpv is appearing, i took the healing process by contacting Dr onokun for natural treatment it works wonders, amazingly ever since I had the herbal treatment i have not feel these horrible disease anymore and my doc told me the virus is gone, i am glad i finally got cured out from this horrible disease. every hpv or herpes patients should also get in touch with this herbalist Dr to get ride of these disease forever his email address;
    dronokunherbalcure@gmail.com..........he also specialize on the following details.

    HIV/AID
    HERPES 1/2
    CANCER

    ReplyDelete
  2. Investing online has been a main source of income,that's why knowledge plays a very important role in humanity,you don't need to over work yourself for money.All you need is the right information,and you could build your own wealth from the comfort of your home!Binary trading is dependent on timely signals,assets or controlled strategies which when mastered increases chance of winning up to 90%-100% with trading. It’s possible to earn $10,000 to $20,000 trading weekly-monthly,just file a complaint with  Robert,I had almost given up on everything about binary trading and ever getting my lost funds back,till i met with him,with his help now i have my lost funds back to my bank account and I can now trade successfully with his profitable strategies and software!! Email: Robertseaman939@gmail.com or Fb.me/investandmakemoney1 or  whatsApp: +44 7466 770724

    ReplyDelete
  3. Investing online has been a main source of income,that's why knowledge plays a very important role in humanity,you don't need to over work yourself for money.All you need is the right information,and you could build your own wealth from the comfort of your home!Binary trading is dependent on timely signals,assets or controlled strategies which when mastered increases chance of winning up to 90%-100% with trading. It’s possible to earn $10,000 to $20,000 trading weekly-monthly,just file a complaint with  Robert,I had almost given up on everything about binary trading and ever getting my lost funds back,till i met with him,with his help now i have my lost funds back to my bank account and I can now trade successfully with his profitable strategies and software!! Email: Robertseaman939@gmail.com or Fb.me/investandmakemoney1 or  whatsApp: +44 7466 770724

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was diagnosed of herpes virus, I have tried all possible means to get cure but all my effort proved abortive, until a friend of mine introduced me to a herbal doctor called Dr Agaba, who prepare herbal medicine to cure all kind of diseases including herpes virus (Herpes), when i contacted this herbal doctor via email, he sent me herpes virus herbal medicine via courier service, when i received the herbal medicine he gave me step by step instructions on how to apply it, when i applied it as instructed i was totally cured from the virus within 3 weeks of usage. Contact this great herbal doctor today to get your cure. 
    Via Email: Dragabasolutionhome@gmail.com or WhatApp: +2349074536486

    ReplyDelete