Diamonds on other planets?

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An illustration of 55 Cancri e shows a surface of mostly graphite surrounding a thick layer of diamond.

Approximately 40,000 light years away, there is a planet called “55 Cancri e”, that is mostly made completely of diamonds! What, a planet made up of diamonds? That’s some bling floating out in the universe!

“Lead researcher Nikku Madhusudhan, a Yale postdoctoral fellow in physicis and astronomy, described the surface of the giant “gem” as “likely covered in graphite and diamond rather than water and granite. This is our first glimpse of a rocky world with a fundamentally different chemistry from Earth. The newfound “diamond” planet probably formed from a white dwarf star—the core of a dead sunlike star—that was being stripped of matter by the pulsar. The leftover object likely represents just 0.1 percent of the white dwarf’s original mass. Another team of scientists theorized that some faraway planets could be made mostly out of carbon, and may have a thick layer of diamonds hiding under the surface.” – National Geographic

Two of our planet neighbors, Neptune and Uranus, could possibly produce more sparkly stuff than all the of the diamond stores combined on earth. Diamond rain, on Neptune and Uranus? The scientist Marvin Ross first suggested that diamond formation could occur on Neptune and Uranus in 1981.

“Uranus and Neptune may literally rain diamonds, which then pile up miles-thick. And those are not the only diamonds being produced in space. You or may not know that there are some planets covered in diamonds. Well some planetary scientists think we just might have a few of them in this very system.

diamondrain1These scientists believe that Uranus and Neptune might actually rain diamonds to such a degree that they’re piled up miles above ground level. Both of those planets are nearly four times as big as this one, too. How could it happen? Well you probably know diamonds are created due to extreme pressure. The atmospheres of both planets contain methane, which is a hydrocarbon.

The atmospheres, which are extremely dense, have temperatures up to 12,000 degrees fahrenheit and pressures up to 6 million times that of our own atmosphere. Basically all that means is the intense pressure and temperature of the planets turns the methane in the atmosphere to diamonds- raining diamonds from the sky.” [Source: OMG Facts]

I did a little research and discovered that a scientist actually copied the exact atmosphere that would be on each of these planets and tried to produce diamonds. Their results, were inconclusive. Though diamond rain has not been a proven phenomenon, it is pretty amazing to imagine it actually happening! Given the experimental evidence, it is also not an unlikely possibility!

[Source: Diamond Rain]

 

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