Far within Neptune and Uranus’ hearts, a strange phenomenon occurs, and it could be raining diamonds. Recently, scientists have developed new experimental proof explaining how such an event could be possible.
The hypothesis suggests that the intense pressure and heat thousands of kilometers underneath the surface of those ice planet giants should divide the hydrocarbon compounds. And, the carbon compresses into diamond, dropping even more profound towards the planetary cores. The results are genuinely intriguing. Here is what you need to know.
Neptune’s Odd Phenomenon Explained
A team of scientists developed an experiment using the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser. They obtained the most accurate measurements of how Neptune’s diamond rain process should happen and discovered that carbon transitions straight into the crystalline diamond.
If diamonds, denser than the material close to them, are raining down into Neptune’s core, they could be discharging gravitational energy. Such a thing is converted into heat produced by friction between the diamonds and the material nearby. The experiment indicates that scientists don’t have to search for an alternative explanation (at least, not yet). It also shows a technique that scientists could utilize to “probe” the cores of other planets in the Solar System.
“We’ll be able to see how hydrogen and helium (found in the interior of Jupiter and Saturn), mix and separate under these extreme conditions,” stated physicist Dominik Kraus.
Neptune and Uranus are probably the most poorly understood planets in the Solar System. They are also exceptionally far away – Voyager 2 succeeded in reaching their surface, but only for a flyby. The planets’ atmospheres are mainly made up of hydrogen and helium, with a small amount of methane. Underneath these atmospheric layers, a superdense, superhot fluid of “icy” elements such as ammonia, methane, and water wraps around the planet’s heart.
Measurements and experiments dating back decades have indicated that, with enough pressure and temperature, methane can be broken into diamonds – showing that diamonds can form within that dense, and hot material. Scientists should be able to offer more details after a few more researches.