In 2004 a program of exploration of the constellation Cancer, 40 light-years from earth revealed four planets in this system. One planet – now known as Planet 55 Cancri-e (not as catchy a name as the planets in our solar system) is thought to be a planets with a high level of carbon as its base and it is thought that the arrangement of some of these carbon particles means that the planet is made up of a high proportion of both graphite and diamonds. It is very simply the arrangement of the carbon atoms that makes the difference between graphite and diamond. It is a distinction that is not well known because it is not often that when looking for Diamond Rings online from sites like https://www.comparethediamond.com/ that we get confused a by a graphite pencil instead.
So back to the planet. It is thought that it takes just 18 days for Cancri-e to orbit its own star and that the surface temperature could reach the incredible heights of 2,700 degrees Celsius which means that some of the gases on the planet will exist in their liquid states. Although it is thought the temperature fluctuates dramatically between day and night. A lot of the data surrounding the planet has originated from the results of the Hubble Space Telescope research and the Spitzer Space Telescope. Both of which have been used in the study of this planet. It is thought that the surface of the planet could consist of many volcanoes and running lava and the atmosphere is almost certainly made up mainly of Helium and Hydrogen which makes it similar to the gas-giants of our solar system as less like the planet Earth.
Much of the explanations around the planets surface and atmosphere are simply based on the information they have been able to gain from the two telescopes along with the knowledge that the astronomers have gained from years of studying the stars and planets not only from our own solar system but also from others. These incredible individuals spend years studying the make up of planets and stars and along with the engineers that develop the technology for us to be able to explore outer space they have opened up new worlds and possibility of other life to us.
Space has always been a place of intrigue and mystery and as natural explorers’ humans will for many years be on the search for further stars, planets and maybe even other lifeforms.