Diamonds Stud the Atmospheres of Saturn and Jupiter

It sounds like science fiction, but as much as 10 million tons of diamonds may be stored in Saturn and Jupiter, researchers announced this week.

Observational evidence of storms on Saturn that actively generate carbon particles, combined with new laboratory experiments and models that show how carbon behaves under extreme conditions, have led a pair of scientists to posit that both planets may offer stable environments for the formation of diamonds.

Earlier theories included only Uranus and Neptune as suspected diamond producers. Scientists suggested that intense temperature and pressure on those planets may be able to convert atmospheric methane gas directly into diamonds, which rain down into their interiors.

Dark stormy regions seen on infrared images are thought to correspond to the breakup of methane molecules into carbon, most probably soot particles.

Once formed, the new theory states, noncrystalline carbon sinks down through the atmosphere until it reaches an altitude of similar density and is converted to graphite under the increasing pressure. The graphite continues its descent into the deeper depths of Saturn’s atmosphere until pressure and temperature builds and converts the material into solid diamonds.

Full Article

Credit: Andrew Fazekas


Posted 6 months ago with 916 notes
Tagged:AstronomyscienceJupitersaturnCassini missioncassini spacecraftgas giantdiamondatmosphere

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    Emphasis mine because what science is saying here is that on some planets, it may rain diamonds.
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