8/26/11: planet diamond

An international team of astronomers, led by Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology professor Matthew Bailes, has discovered a planet made of diamond crystals, in our own Milky Way galaxy  … with a mass of about 1.4 times that of our Sun.

—Wired, UK

In 4th grade I wanted to be an astronomer. The desire didn’t last long, and I went through the usual series of wannabees you’d expect of a nerdy girl, only to end up in a career in the entirely unexpected and possibly unsuitable role of a nurse. Also in 4th grade I swore I would never marry and never have children. I in no way regret giving birth to my son (at age 19 in the Noor Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan), but true to my oath I have never/will never marry. I’m pretty much of a happy hermit these days. But I digress.

I woke today to hear about this diamond planet and its remarkable properties and theories about its origins. The radio story clashed somewhat with my dream which had something to do with frogs falling from the sky during a hurricane (we’ll have to hedge our bets on that one), and thought at first that it was a very late April Fool’s tale. But no, apparently with their wizardry, today’s cosmologists can tell us the composition of distant orbs with some certainty. Amazing, isn’t it?

I think the scientists are pretty excited and surprised by discovering this unexpected object. But I’m pretty sure we don’t really know much at all about our universe.

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