Scientists have discovered a plausible explanation for why a hellish planet sends an enigmatic signal.

The planet, dubbed 55 Cancri e, is so near to its star that it completes a whole orbit in just 17 hours.

Furthermore, some research implies that the planet itself could be formed of diamond.

It was found in 2004 and is called for the star it circles, 55 Cancri. It’s also not too far away in terms of space, being roughly 40 light years away and dubbed a “super Earth.”

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“This is our first glimpse of a rocky world with fundamentally different chemistry from Earth,” Yale University’s Nikku Madhusudhan said of the planet.

“The surface of this planet is likely covered in graphite and diamond rather than water and granite.”

Indeed, solid diamond could account for up to one-third of the planet’s mass. That’s a whole lot of carats.

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Aside from being composed of diamonds, 55 Cancri e is notable for the mystery signal it has been transmitting for decades and for which scientists have been unable to discover an explanation.

That is, until now, it appears.

One proposed explanation is that the planet’s atmosphere is constantly being shed and regrown.

When volcanoes erupt and dump hot gases onto the planet’s surface, they generate a new atmosphere, which then re-grows the atmosphere.

However, the tremendous temperatures created by the planet’s incredibly close orbit will burn out the atmosphere, leaving the planet ‘naked’ to space.

According to a new report, the process then repeats itself.

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At the moment, this is merely a hypothesis about the planet, but scientists may test it to see whether it is truly regrowing and losing its atmosphere.

This might be accomplished by continuously measuring the temperature and pressure of the planet’s atmosphere.

This would establish whether the planet had a stable atmosphere or if it was constantly losing and regrowing it.

This procedure would also explain why the planet was emitting a constant signal, which scientists have yet to explain.

When the planet is ‘bald,’ no visible light emanates from it, but when it has more atmosphere, visible light and other signals begin to be detected again.

Diamonds may last forever, but the atmosphere of this planet is not.


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