(Mirror Daily, United States) – Researchers managed to recreate the diamond rain present on the surface of Neptune and Uranus, after they managed to observe the phenomenon with the help of powerful lasers. The theory they promote claims diamonds get beneath the surface of these planets and forms a crust which covers their cores.
Solid proof in favor of diamond rain on Neptune and Uranus
Before scientists managed to develop this study, they lacked proof that diamonds actually formed on the surface of these planets. However, thanks to laser technology, they managed to catch a glimpse of diamond rain on Neptune and Uranus, and the findings showed how their theory was right. The study was published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
To simulate the Neptune atmosphere which is rich in methane, researchers used polystyrene, a plastic material. The combination between methane and plastic make the planet look blue, and create the atmosphere rich in carbon and hydrogen. Then, they used the powerful x-ray laser called LCLS (Linac Coherent Light Source), and issued high pressure over the carbon and hydrogen molecules. This is how they managed to obtain diamond rain.
The experiment can have other uses as well
During the experiment, almost all atoms of carbon got together into tiny structures of only a few nanometers. However, researchers think the diamonds on Neptune and Uranus are bigger and weigh several millions of karats.
In a few thousands of years, they think these diamonds will sink into the surface of the planets and gather in layers around their cores. The conditions beneath their surface will probably cause diamond precipitations. This means that these layers might not probably be made up of pure diamond, but will definitely have it in their composition.
The discovery doesn’t only have value in the astronomy field. By using the same laser technology, they might create nanodiamonds for medical, scientific, or cosmetic purposes. Also, the same experiment can help them find out how the fusion of the hydrogen atoms takes place.
Image Source: Max Pixel