Its Raining Diamonds In Uranus

Apparently it's raining diamonds inside Uranus and Neptune. 

And scientists have discovered some new experimental evidence deep within the hearts of these gas giants that could explain this happens. 

There's extremely high pressure and heat thousands of kilometres below the surface of these giant balls of awesome and their theory says that this is how hydrocarbon compounds are split apart. 

This makes the carbon compress into diamond and sinks even further towards the planets' cores. 

 


Thanks to the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser, we now have the most accurate measurements of how diamond rain happens.

"This research provides data on the phenomenon that is very difficult to model computationally: the 'miscibility' of two elements, or how they combine when mixed," said plasma physicist Mike Dunne, director of the LCLS and who is definitely not a nerd...

"... we see how two elements separate, like getting mayonnaise to separate back into oil and vinegar."

Although Ice Giants are very common outside our solar system - at 10 times more common than most exoplanets - we have only Uranus and Neptune to study within our scope.

And even then, only a singular probe (Voyager 2) has ever ventured that far into Uranus for a brief fly-by. 

If we can understand the ice giants in our solar system, we can begin to understand those beyond it. 

Starting with the phenomena we see in their atmospheres. 

 

 

We already know that the atmosphere of both Uranus and Neptune is mostly hydrogen and helium, with a touch of methane.

But below these layers of gas are superheated, dense fluids such as water, methane and ammonia that covers the planet's core. 

And, as we know from previous experiments for decades, with the right temperature and pressure, methane can be forced into diamonds.

For Uranus and Neptune, this is the perfect environment for forming diamonds. 

Previously, an experiment by SLAC head physicist Dominik Kraus at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf in Germany used X-ray diffraction to attempt this, with great success. 

In its base form, the experiment aimed to replicate the conditions in the atmosphere of the ice giants using the LCLS by using material that replicates the methane innards of the planets.

And now the team have upped this process even further. 

Yo guys it's CLintern and we got a bunch of new stickers in after selling out. BUT! I dunno how long these ones will last so snap em' up to spread ARSE on your desktop at home.
Click the pic above and I'll see you on the social media guys.

- Clintern 

" We now have a very promising new approach based on X-ray scattering. Our experiments are delivering important model parameters where, before, we only had massive uncertainty. This will become ever more relevant the more exoplanets we discover.

For example, we'll be able to see how hydrogen and helium, elements found in the interior of gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn, mix and separate under these extreme conditions. It's a new way to study the evolutionary history of planets and planetary systems, as well as supporting experiments towards potential future forms of energy from fusion."

Are you surprised there are diamonds raining in Uranus?
How does it make you feel?

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