'It's raining diamonds from the sky' on Saturn and Jupiter

American scientists revealed that there may be 'diamond showers' on the planets Jupiter and Saturn. New data on the atmospheres of these planets point to abundant carbon.
Gas and lightning storms transform the methane gas on these planets into carbon, which solidifies as it falls to the planet's surface, first turning into pieces of graphite (pure soft carbon) and then into diamonds.

At the conference, where they shared the new data, the researchers said that in the warmer regions of the planet, diamond "bumps" melted into liquid.

Dr Kevin Baines, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said the largest piece of diamond could be one centimeter in diameter and "about the size of Elizabeth Taylor to wear with pride."

Noting that Saturn rains a thousand tons of diamonds a year, Baines said, “People ask how we think about it. Because it is not possible to go to this planet and make on-site observations. But it's a matter of chemistry, and we're pretty confident about it." says.

storm passes

The new, as yet unpublished, findings were announced at the Planetary Sciences chapter meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Denver.

Until now, it was thought that precious stones might exist on Uranus and Neptune, but the atmosphere on Jupiter and Saturn was not suitable for this.

Baines, along with Mona Delitsky of California Specialist Engineering, studied the behavior of carbon under different conditions, as well as estimates of heat and pressure inside planets.

As a result, he concluded that diamond crystals were raining down from the sky, especially over a large part of Saturn.

Baines explained this process as follows:

“It all starts in storm passages where methane is transformed by lightning in the upper atmosphere. As the soot falls, the pressure builds up and after about a thousand miles it turns into graphite, the kind of carbon seen in pencils. At a depth of 6 km, falling pieces of graphite harden and become diamonds. Another 30 km lower, the pressure and heat at this extreme depth are so great that diamonds can no longer remain solid. There is uncertainty about what happens to the carbon at this depth.”

One possibility is that these solid diamonds melt under the high heat, forming a "sea" of liquid carbon.

“On Uranus and Neptune, which have a colder center, diamonds can stay forever, but not on Jupiter and Saturn,” Baines said. says.

These findings have not yet been evaluated by other planetary experts, but experts spoke to the BBC said the possibility of a diamond rain cannot be ruled out.

One of the first experts to predict that there are diamonds in Uranus and Saturn, Prof. "When you consider the size of these planets, the amount of carbon (hence diamonds) that could be present could be substantial," said Raymond Jeanloz.

However, University of California's Dr. Nadine Nettelmann emphasizes that further research is needed to see if carbon can be converted to diamond in an atmosphere rich in hydrogen and helium like that of Saturn.


Source : internethaber

Günceleme: 14/10/2013 19:39

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