If you don’t already know, there are some planets out in our solar system on which it rains diamonds! Astronomers and physicists have suspected this for about 45 years now that deep within Uranus and Neptune it rains diamonds! The planets living on the outer edge if our solar system, are a bit hard to study. However, a space mission named as Voyager 2 flew in order to reveal the mysteries of these planets. Here is all you need to know about where does it rain diamonds and how!
Mystery of diamond rain:
We still haven’t been able to study Uranus and Neptune inside and out. This is why some scientists and experts say that the diamond rain is also one of the countless mysteries of these two planets.
They claim this is the reason why the question ‘where does it rain diamonds’ will be asked for a few more decades because of the lack of research.
The outer most planets in our solar system have some sort of scars on their surfaces. Experts believe that these scars can tell us a lot about how our Solar System was formed.
There is a growing interest in detailed exploration of these Uranus and Neptune. This research can further refine our quest for planets which can sustain life.
The properties of these planets:
Neptune and Uranus are known as the ice giants of our solar system. This is because their outer two layers are made of different compounds which include hydrogen and helium.
Ice refers to elements, which are light weight and contain hydrogen and helium. The ammonia (NH3), water (H2O) and methane (CH4) being the light weight elements present on the surface of these planets make them icy.
The very beautiful blue-ish hues visible on the surface of both of these planets are the result of traces of methane gas in their atmosphere. However, inside the deep middle layers of this “ice” is what shapes the properties for these planets.
On Neptune, beneath the hydrogen-helium atmosphere which is about 3,000 km thick there lays an ice layer which is about 17,500 km thick.
Formation of diamonds:
If such heat and pressure is applied on ammonia and methane they become chemically reactive. This is where the scientists think that diamond formation happens in the compounds between the layers of ice.
Marvin Ross of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was the first man to introduce the diamond rain idea. Ross wrote about it in the year 1981 in his article which was published in Nature.
This article was titled “the Ice Layers of Uranus and Neptune – Diamonds in the Sky?” He suggested that the hydrogen and carbon atoms of the hydrocarbons like methane are separated at high temperatures and high pressures inside these planets.
These isolated carbon atoms then form huge clusters and later these clusters of isolated carbon is squeezed to form a diamond structure which is the most stable form of carbon under all these conditions.