Did You Know?
It rains diamonds on Saturn and Jupiter.
Rain is precious at the best of times, but this is something else entirely.
Scientists believe that on Jupiter and Saturn, it rains diamonds.
New atmospheric data for the gas giants indicates that carbon is abundant in its dazzling crystal form, the BBC reports.
Lightning storms turn methane into soot which hardens into chunks of graphite and then diamond as it falls.
These diamond “hail stones” eventually melt into a liquid sea in the planets’ hot cores, they told a conference.
The biggest diamonds would likely be about a centimeter in diameter – big enough to grace the likes of that noted diamond-lover, Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor.
They would be “big enough to put on a ring, although of course they would be uncut,” says Dr. Kevin Baines, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“The bottom line is that 1000 tonnes of diamonds a year are being created on Saturn.”
Baines presented his unpublished findings at the annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society in Denver, Colorado, alongside his co-author Mona Delitsky, from California Speciality Engineering.
Baines and Delitsky analysed the latest temperature and pressure predictions for the planets’ interiors, as well as new data on how carbon behaves in different conditions.
They concluded that stable crystals of diamond will “hail down over a huge region” of Saturn in particular.
Uranus and Neptune have long been thought to harbour gemstones. But Saturn and Jupiter were not thought to have suitable atmospheres.
The findings are yet to be peer reviewed, but other planetary experts said the possibility of diamond rain “cannot be dismissed”.