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TV. Planet Hunters. "Diamond" Planet Found; May Be Stripped Star. An exotic planet as dense as diamond has been found in the Milky Way, and astronomers think the world is a former star that got transformed by its orbital partner. The odd planet was discovered orbiting what's known as a millisecond pulsar—a tiny, fast-spinning corpse of a massive star that died in a supernova. Astronomers estimate that the newfound planet is 34,175 miles (55,000 kilometers) across, or about five times Earth's diameter. In addition, "we are very confident it has a density about 18 times that of water," said study leader Matthew Bailes, an astronomer at the Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing in Melbourne, Australia.

"This means it can't be made of gases like hydrogen and helium like most stars but [must be made of] heavier elements like carbon and oxygen, making it most likely crystalline in nature, like a diamond. " (Related: "'Diamond Planets' Hint at Dazzling Promise of Other Worlds. ") Double-sun "Star Wars" planet discovered.

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How the universe appeared from nothing. MacGregor Campbell, consultant There's no such thing as a free lunch, or so the saying goes, but that may not be true on the grandest, cosmic scale.

How the universe appeared from nothing

Many physicists now believe that the universe arose out of nothingness during the Big Bang which means that nothing must have somehow turned into something. How could that be possible? Due to the weirdness of quantum mechanics, nothing transforms into something all the time. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle states that a system can never have precisely zero energy and since energy and mass are equivalent, pairs of particles can form spontaneously as long as they annihilate one another very quickly. The less energy such a system has, the longer it can stick around. If you take inflation into account, which physicists think caused rapid expansion in the early universe, we begin to see why MIT physicist Alan Guth calls the universe the "ultimate free lunch. " You can read the full story here or check out the rest of our Existence special. Is the Universe a Holographic Reality?

The Universe as a Hologram by Michael Talbot Does Objective Reality Exist, or is the Universe a Phantasm?

Is the Universe a Holographic Reality?

In 1982 a remarkable event took place. At the University of Paris a research team led by physicist Alain Aspect performed what may turn out to be one of the most important experiments of the 20th century. You did not hear about it on the evening news. In fact, unless you are in the habit of reading scientific journals you probably have never even heard Aspect's name, though there are some who believe his discovery may change the face of science. Nasa budget slashes Martian funds. 13 February 2012Last updated at 19:30 By Paul Rincon Science editor, BBC News website The ExoMars project was formally initiated by European space ministers in 2005 President Barack Obama's 2013 budget request for Nasa would slash spending on Mars exploration and shift funds to human spaceflight and space technology.

Nasa budget slashes Martian funds

As reported by BBC News last week, this means the US will pull the plug on its joint missions to Mars with Europe. If approved by Congress, the budget request would reduce funds available for planetary science by about 21%. But spending on human exploration and space technology would rise by 6% and 22% respectively. "There's no doubt that tough decisions had to be made," Nasa's administrator Charles Bolden told a news conference in Washington DC.

But he added: "This is a stable budget that enables us to support a diverse portfolio. " Overall, Nasa would receive about $17.7bn for next year, with a flat budget envisaged over the next few years. Paul.Rincon-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk. Unmanned rocket delivers supplies to ISS. Did asteroids spark life on Earth? Astronomy. 'Second sun' on its way. First Habitable Exoplanet? Climate Simulation Reveals New Candidate That Could Support Earth-Like Life. Hottest planet is hotter than some stars - space - 19 January 2011. Astronomers have found the hottest planet yet, a gas giant with a temperature of nearly 3200 °C, which is hotter than some stars.

Hottest planet is hotter than some stars - space - 19 January 2011

A collaboration called the Super Wide Angle Search for Planets (SuperWASP) announced hints of the planet's existence in 2006. The group had observed periodic dimmings of the parent star possibly caused by a planet about 1.4 times the size of Jupiter passing in front of the star once per orbit. Follow-up measurements confirmed the planet's presence in 2010, showing distortions of the star's light spectrum that could only be due to a planet's influence.

The measurements showed the planet's mass is less than 4.5 times that of Jupiter. Called WASP-33b, the planet orbits its star at less than 7 per cent of Mercury's distance from the sun, whipping around the star once every 29.5 hours. Hot star, close planet That is not the tightest orbit known, but WASP-33b's parent star is one of the hottest known to host a planet. Puzzling planets More From New Scientist (YouTube) Sean Carroll: Distant time and the hint of a multiverse.