On Earth, precious stones are highly sought after and are hard to find, something that is very different in a new class of super-earth exoplanets that was recently discovered by a group of astronomers made up of specialists from the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and the University of Cambridge (UK).
As it turns out, this newly discovered kind of super-earths was formed at high temperatures, so their composition is made from large amounts of calcium, aluminum, in addition to their oxides, sapphire and ruby. Indeed, the recently published study reveals the existence of a celestial body called HD219134 b, located about 21 light years from Earth in the constellation of Cassiopeia, which contains large amounts of precious stones.
Astrophysicist Caroline Dorn, from the University of Zurich, explained that: “Maybe it shines from red to blue like rubies and sapphires because these gems are aluminum oxides that are common in the exoplanet.” In addition, this research indicates that HD219134 b has a mass that is almost five times greater than that of Earth and could be one of three super-earths that probably belong to a new class of exoplanets. The other candidates include 55 Cancri e, better known as Janssen, and WASP-47, located in the constellation of Aquarius.
Regarding how these planets were formed, scientists say that their constitution is because they were created from high temperature condensations, due to their proximity to their stars. “Normally, these building blocks are formed in regions where rock-forming elements such as iron, magnesium and silicon have condensed,” said the person in charge of the study.
According to astrophysics, the main reason why these exoplanets can not have a magnetic field is because many of them are still in the gas phase. The Swiss researcher stressed that “if they really exist”, the celestial bodies discovered by her team could belong to a new “exotic” class of super-earths.