A rainstorm of solid diamonds may sound like something out of fiction, but not in Uranus and Neptune. It was recently discovered that it is really raining diamonds in these far-flung planets, and researchers at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory were able to recreate the phenomenon here on Earth.
The diamond storm in Neptune and Uranus is formed by slushy, hydrocarbon-rich oceans and combined with super high temperatures on the planet's surface that put pressure on the hydrocarbons. It then results in diamonds falling from the sky and towards the planet's core.
Scientists have long speculated that extreme temperatures in Neptune and Uranus cause hydrocarbon molecules to split into atoms of hydrogen and carbon, and that the latter would then crystallize to form diamonds.
This theory was recently proved by a study now published in the Nature Astrophysics journal. A group of scientists at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory were able to mimic the conditions found in Neptune and Uranus to recreate a miniature diamond rain inside the laboratory.
Previous attempts were done to recreate the same effect, but they ran into problems particularly because of how extreme the conditions are on Neptune and Uranus, which are 17 and 15 times the size of Earth, respectively. The oceans in both planets also have pressures that are a million times more intense than the air pressure that hits the Earth's seas, the Washington Post reported.