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Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Diamond Rain Inside Planet Uranus and Neptune, new study suggests.

In Pic : Sketch of the x-ray scattering technique used to research how within Neptune and Uranus diamonds could shape.

Neptune and Uranus, being the two outer planets in our solar system, have sometimes been forced to the wayside — at least when the latter is not mentioned as the butt of a joke.

Yet a recent scientific research has put a luxurious spin on these underestimated blue giants: diamond predictions under their planetary surfaces. A laboratory experiment designed off conditions on the two planets showed the underground high pressure probably produces diamonds falling into the core of the planets.

Based on information collected about these planets, experts believe that Neptune and Uranus both exhibit extreme environmental conditions tens of kilometers below their surfaces, where they can reach a heat of thousands of degrees centigrade and serious pressure levels, given their frigid atmospheres which have earned them the label "ice giants."

A multinational team of scientists including U.S. researchers The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory of the Department of Energy performed an experiment to closely simulate planetary interior conditions and determine what is going on within them.

The group's working theory, despite the incredibly high pressure inside both planets, was that the pressure was intense enough to break the hydrocarbon compounds within the planets into their smallest shapes, which would then harden the carbon into diamonds.

             In pic : Planet Uranus and Neptune.

So, they wanted to test the diamond rain hypothesis using an advanced method never used before. Previously , researchers used the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser from SLAC to achieve an precise measurement of the formation of "solid dense matter," a high-pressure , high-temperature combination that scientists believed to be at the heart of ice giants like Neptune and Uranus.

However, scientists used a different technique called "X-ray Thomson scattering" in the new study, which helped scientists to accurately replicate diffraction findings while also observing how the non-cristal sample elements blended together.

By using scattering method , researchers were able to replicate the same hydrocarbon diffractions that had been separated into carbon and hydrogen between Neptune and Uranus. The effect was the crystallization of the carbon by the intense pressure and heat from the atmosphere. It will potentially turn into a 6,200-mile underground shower of diamonds slowly descending into the planets.

The positive laboratory experiment using the new method would also be useful in the study of other planets' ecosystems.