It's raining diamonds in Jupiter and Saturn!

Oct 11 2013, 15:26 IST
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While it has been known for 30 years that diamond may be stable in Uranus and Neptune, Jupiter and Saturn were thought to be too hot for precipitation of solid diamond. (Image courtesy: NASA) While it has been known for 30 years that diamond may be stable in Uranus and Neptune, Jupiter and Saturn were thought to be too hot for precipitation of solid diamond. (Image courtesy: NASA)
SummaryAccording to data, some are so large that they could perhaps be called 'diamondbergs'.

Diamonds in the sky! Scientists have found that the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn are awash in diamonds.

Recent work by planetary scientists has indicated that these planets may contain chunks of diamond floating in a liquid hydrogen/helium fluid.

The new data available has confirmed that at depth, diamonds may be floating around inside of Saturn, some growing so large that they could perhaps be called "diamondbergs."

Planetary scientists Mona L Delitsky of California Speciality Engineering in Pasadena, California, and Kevin H Baines of the University of Wisconsin-Madison have compiled recent data about the phase diagram of carbon.

They combined the data with newly published adiabats (pressure-temperature diagrams) for Jupiter and Saturn to calculate that diamond will be stable in the deep interiors.

Further, at altitudes below the regions where diamond is stable, the pressures and temperatures will be so large as to melt the diamond into liquid, creating diamond rain or liquid diamond, 'Phys.org' reported.

Delitsky and Baines reported that elemental carbon such as soot or graphite generated in Saturn's enormous lightning storms will descend into the planet and will be crushed into diamonds at deep altitudes and then melted into liquid diamond near the cores of the planets.

While it has been known for 30 years that diamond may be stable in the cores of Uranus and Neptune, Jupiter and Saturn were thought to be too hot or to not have conditions suitable for precipitation of solid diamond, researchers said.

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