Feeds

World of diamonds bigger than the Ritz discovered

Strange carbon mountains of farflung planet

New hybrid storage solutions

A curious world orbiting a star 1200 light years from our own solar system could be home to diamonds of enormous, unparalleled size, say boffins.

The planet WASP-12b was discovered last year by a group of UK astronomers, the Wide Angle Search for Planets. Since then it has been probed intensively by NASA's Spitzer telescope in orbit above the Earth's atmosphere.

US boffins poring over the Spitzer data have now announced that WASP-12b is the first "carbon rich" world ever discovered among the hundreds of planets known to humanity. The strange, huge world has much more carbon in its makeup than is generally found, which means that a variety of rare forms of the element are likely to be common there.

“On most planets, oxygen is abundant. It makes rocks such as quartz and gases such as carbon dioxide," says Florida-based prof Joseph Harrington. “With more carbon than oxygen, you would get rocks of pure carbon, such as diamond or graphite, and lots of methane gas."

Quite apart from the probably diamond or graphite mountains to be found there, WASP-12b is strange and unearthly in other ways. It orbits its sun - a fairly regular type star not dissimilar to our own - so closely that daylight temperatures of around 2590°C would be normal there, and the planet's year lasts just 26 of your Earth hours.

"This planet tells us that there are many other strange worlds out there, beyond even the imaginations of the people doing the science," comments Nikku Madhusudhan of MIT, lead boffin on the Spitzer study.

Full boffinry on the findings is published in the big brains' big-brain mag Nature, here (subscription required for the full paper). ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Square Kilometre Array reveals its 1.6TB-a-day storage and network rigs
Boolardy Engineering Test Array - aka BETA - is about to come out of Beta
LOHAN invites ENTIRE REG READERSHIP to New Mexico shindig
Well, those of you who back our Kickstarter tin-rattling...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.