An illustration of 55 Cancri e shows a surface of mostly graphite surrounding a thick layer of diamond. Source: HAVEN GIGUERE, YALE

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Diamond Planet

The planet is pretty close to its host star and makes one complete rotation around its star in approximately 18 hours. Hence, one year on 55 Cancri e is equivalent to 18 hours on planet Earth.


The universe we live in is a strange place. Humans, in general, have limited resources and equipment, and that’s why we cannot fully explore the planets that lie on the other side of the galaxy. We can only observe the ones that are present in the Milky Way. There’s a planet that is made up of pure diamonds in our beloved galaxy. Yes, you heard me right. Scientists were utterly gobsmacked when they discovered an alien planet in 2004. They were shocked to see that it was made of pure diamonds. The said planet is two times larger than Earth. Furthermore, the diamond planet is mostly made up of graphite and a thick layer of diamond. How’s that possible, though? Keep reading to find out.

Following are ten interesting facts regarding 55 Cancri e, the diamond planet of our galaxy:

1) The diamond planet was discovered in 2004:

As stated before, this planet was discovered in 2004. The astronomers were initially observing its parent star 55 Cancri A, one of two stars in a binary system about 40 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cancer. Studies suggest that there are four other planets in the same system that were discovered before 55 Cancri e.

2) The Spitzer Space Telescope:

The planet was closely observed by the Spitzer Space Telescope in 2012. Scientists and experts noticed that 55 Cancri e was quite different than expected. It was initially believed that this planet was dense and rocky. However, Spitzer hinted that it has a healthy proportion of light elements and compounds. Moreover, it has a high surface temperature, and that is why the gases present on the planet are in a liquid-like state.

3) Incorrect observations about 55 Cancri e:

Scientists originally thought that it was similar to our beloved earth. However, that was not the case. 55 Cancri e has twice the radius of Earth, eight times the mass. Moreover, it is the deepest planet in the 55 Cancri system, and that is why the planet has a surface temperature of 3,900 degrees Fahrenheit.

4) Why is 55 Cancri e made out of diamonds?

The star system itself is made up of carbon, iron, and silicon. Millions of years of pressure and heat have slowly turned the planet into a massive diamond. According to the scientists working at Yale University, approximately one-third of 55 Cancri e’s body is made up of diamonds. This is a few trillion times more diamonds than has ever been excavated on Earth.

5) 55 Cancri e is the smallest planet in its star system:

55 Cancri e is the smallest planet in its star system. The planet is pretty close to its host star and makes one complete rotation around its star in approximately 18 hours. Hence, one year on 55 Cancri e is equivalent to 18 hours on planet Earth. Pretty interesting, isn’t it?

6) Scientists described it as a gas giant back when it was discovered:

As far as the features of the said exoplanet are concerned, scientists originally believed that the 55 Cancri e was a small gas giant somewhat similar to Neptune. They could not study it properly as it’s quite far. Moreover, the diamond planet is quite strange in terms of properties.

7) Spitzer observed 55 Cancri e between June 15 and July 15, 2012

According to NASA, Spitzer observed this planet with the help of a camera specifically designed for viewing infrared light, which is generally invisible to human eyes.

8) The diamond planet does not have an atmosphere:

Some scientists claim that there’s no atmosphere on the diamond planet. However, this fact is not confirmed. Whether the planet has an atmosphere or not remains a mystery. We need high-level technology to study the planet in a better way.

9) Experts initially thought that the diamond planet contained super-heated water:

Astronomers thought 55 Cancri e contained a substantial amount of super-heated water, based on the assumption that its chemical composition was pretty similar to Earth’s. However, the new research implies that the planet has no water at all.

10) Multiple diamond planets in the universe:

Scientists believe that there must be more exoplanets similar to this one in the universe. The composition of this planet is quite unique.

As stated above, the planet is quite far from the earth. It’s impossible to send a probe that can cross a distance of 40 light-years from our Solar System. We don’t have sufficient equipment at the moment.

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