Published on August 26th, 2011 | by Scott Varnham
“Midnight” Planet Discovered!
About 4000 light-years away (which is in the Milky Way, although still stupidly far away), a planet has been discovered orbiting a Pulsar star. Pulsar stars are dead neutron stars that are, in astronomical terms, peanuts compared to space.
The diameter for the Pulsar star involved here is about 12 miles across. The planet itself is a bit larger than Jupiter and about 20 times denser, so it’s mostly solid. What makes it interesting to the layman (and indeed, the Doctor Who fan) is that the carbon base of the planet would be crystallised, which amounts to a planet that is pretty much made of diamond. Rumours of a mimicing monster have yet to be confirmed.
It orbits the dead neutron star in an orbit that would fit inside our own sun, so that a year on that planet (which they should let Russell T. Davies name) equals two hours and ten minutes. More than enough time for a couple episodes of Doctor Who or Torchwood!
According to Ben Stappers (quoted in the article linked to below), the planet won’t look quite like the one in Midnight, but you could probably make a fortune from mining it (once the cost of mounting a space mining expedition becomes cost-effective, of course).
It’s an interesting discovery, especially for Whovians, and makes one wonder at just what else is out there. If there’s any more of these planets going undiscovered, then the skies are truly made of diamonds.