Scientists believe that it rains diamonds on the planets Neptune and Uranus. They came up with this theory after successfully observing the formation of diamond rain using some very powerful lasers. The researchers theorize that the diamonds sink into the interior of these planets and shape a gleaming crust around their solid cores.

The findings of the study were published in Nature Astronomy on August 21, 2017. It was led by Dominik Kraus, a scientist at Helmholtz Dresden-Rossendorf and other colleagues, according to Phys.org.

Kraus said that in the past, the scientists only assumed that diamonds had formed. On the other hand, when he saw the results of this current experiment, he described it as one of the best moments of his scientific career.

Converting plastic into diamonds

The scientists simulated Neptune’s methane-rich atmosphere using a plastic material known as polystyrene. Plastic and methane give the planet a blue cast that is composed of hydrogen and carbon molecules.

The team used the SLAC’s Matter in Extreme Conditions (MEC) instrument that is in the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), which is the most powerful x-ray laser in the world. This instrument generates high-pressure conditions that extract the hydrogen and carbon molecules into diamonds.

In their experiment, they found that almost all carbon atom was merged into tiny small structures, which measure up to a few nanometers wide. The scientists expect that diamonds on Neptune and Uranus could be much larger and about millions of karats in weight. They also foresee that in thousand years, the diamonds will gradually sink in the ice layers of the planets and congregate to its thick layer around its core.

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Kraus said that this atmosphere would produce diamond precipitation inside such celestial bodies. “This means that there is not necessarily a pure diamond core but certainly a large diamond envelope around the rocky cores that are supposed to exist inside Neptune and Uranus,” added Kraus.

Advancement of this experiment

Engadget reports that the results of this experiment could help fabricating #nanodiamonds for jewelry, electronic, scientific equipment, medicine and other commercial purposes. This experiment will also help scientist to understand and enhance the fusion experiment, in which the forms of hydrogen are merged to create helium to produce huge amounts of energy.

The scientists are now planning to use these methods to search for other activities that happen inside the other planets. Kraus said that they cannot go inside the planets and look at them. He further said that these laboratory experiments match satellite and telescope observations.