Scientists say they have demonstrated that inside our solar system’s great ice giants, Neptune and Uranus, it is raining diamonds. Yes! Rain those diamonds down upon me! Diamond rain!!!
The Guardian reports that these planets “are largely made up a huge, slushy ocean of water, ammonia and substances known as hydrocarbons—molecules, such as methane, that are composed of hydrogen and carbon.” Like the specifics of Southern atmospherics produce tumultuous summer thunderstorms friendly to the novels of Nicholas Sparks, that is conducive to diiiiiiiiamonds:
But researchers have long theorised that deep within these vast, blue planets something astonishing occurs: high temperatures and pressures act on the hydrocarbons deep in the oceans to produce diamonds that rain down, falling towards the planets’ interiors.
Now scientists say they have managed mimic conditions found within these planets to produce tiny diamonds in the laboratory. What’s more, the researchers were able to probe the structure of the material as it was made.
In the journal Nature Astronomy, the team explained that they “fired lasers at humble polystyrene—a substitute for the hydrocarbons found within Neptune and Uranus.” The Guardian also adds that, “While the diamonds produced in the laboratory are tiny—just a few nanometres in diameter—the team say that within Neptune and Uranus, the diamonds produced could be far bigger.”
Shower me in space diamonds, King Neptune!