Astronomers have discovered a new planet in the Milky Way. The planet which is estimated to be five times the diameter of earth was found orbiting a millisecond pulsar, a fast spinning corpse of a large star that has died in a supernova.
The discovery was made by a team of astronomers doing a pulsar survey using a radio telescope at the Parke’s Observatory in Australia.
What is unique about this is that it is not made up of gases like hydrogen and helium as most stars are but of denser elements such as carbon and oxygen, making it more crystalline in nature like a diamond. Astronomers at the Swinburne Center for Astrophysics & Supercomputing in Melbourne, Australia say that they are very confident that the planet has a density about 18 times that of water.
This millisecond pulsar is located about 4,000 light years away in the southern constellation Serpens and beams powerful radio waves from its poles and spins more than 10,000 times a minute.
This planet is thought to be only the second orbital companion of a millisecond pulsar which is a planet, although 70% of pulsars have orbital companions, they are not planets since planets usually do not form around millisecond pulsars.