Huge diamonds form on Uranus and Neptune

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Huge diamonds develop in the centre of Neptune and Uranus, new research has revealed.

‘Diamond rain’ has been recreated by scientists, who said the conditions on the planets mean the rocks could form on the central core of the planets over thousands of years.

The process sees the diamonds created as extreme pressure pushes carbon atoms together before hydrocarbons sink through the planet’s slushy interior and gather on the central core.

According to The Times, German researchers used a high-powered laser to create shock waves in polystyrene – which is made from hydrogen and carbon – to recreate the pressure found on the planets.

The scientists from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf laboratory found that nearly every atom was incorporated into microscopic diamond structures measuring just a few nanometres wide, Nature Astronomy reported. 

Despite the structures lasting just seconds, the breakthrough is seen as proof of the diamond rain theory.

Dominik Kraus, who led the study, hailed the results as “one of the best moments” of his career because the structures had only been assumed.


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