Science 2 min read

Researchers Just Found a 'Shimmering' Gemstone Planet

Researchers from the Universities of Cambridge and Zurich just discovered a new gemstone planet which could be entirely covered in rubies and sapphires.

Artist illustration of 55 Cancri e | Kevin Gill | Flickr.com

Artist illustration of 55 Cancri e | Kevin Gill | Flickr.com

Researchers just discovered a shimmering gemstone planet  21 light years away from Earth.

In a study published by the University of Zurich and Cambridge University, a team reported the discovery of a gemstone planet covered in rubies and sapphires. Researchers located the exoplanet. called  HD219134 b, in the Cassiopeia constellation.

“Perhaps it shimmers red to blue like rubies and sapphires because these gemstones are aluminum oxides, which are common on the exoplanet,” Caroline Dorn, an astrophysicist from the Institute for Computational Science in the University of Zurich, said.

According to Dorn, HD219134 b is one of three candidates that could belong to a new class of exoplanets teeming with precious materials. These planets belong to a type of super-Earth or planets like Earth and Mars that are composed of rocks, metals, or a mix of both which are much bigger than the two but are smaller than Neptune.

Read More: Study Shows One-Third Of Known Exoplanets Are “Water Worlds”

The Gemstone Planet

Unlike our planet, HD219134 b and other planets of its kind tend to orbit closer to their star. Because of this, their compositions are different from our world. Instead of having an iron core like Earth, these exoplanets are rich in calcium and aluminum.

With an abundant supply of calcium and aluminum, researchers believe that a gemstone planet like HD219134 b could be covered in rubies and sapphires. Both stones are primarily made of the mineral corundum. During Dorn and her team’s simulations, they found that HD219134 b is also abundant in silicon and magnesium.

“Many elements are still in the gas phase there, and the planetary building blocks have a completely different composition,” Dorn went on to say.

Aside from HD219134 b, the other two planets being observed by Dorn and her team are the 55 Cancri e, located 41 light years away, and the mega-Earth WASP-47 e over 870 light years away. In 2012, 55 Cancri e was identified to be made of diamond.

What can you say about the existence of gemstone planets? Do you believe that interplanetary mining is possible in the future?

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Rechelle Ann Fuertes

Rechelle is an SEO content producer, technical writer, researcher, social media manager, and visual artist. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with family and friends.

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