The monsoons have been a blessing from the immense heat that most of India has withstood for the past few months and as the rains come the temperature has dropped significantly. While rain on Earth is made up of water droplets (hydrogen and oxygen), there are some planets where these droplets are much heavier and thicker, and instead of water they are made up of carbon.
The temperature and pressure conditions on these planets are so extreme that carbon atoms could be crushed into diamonds in their atmospheres by rain. These planets are not far from Earth and form the outer layer of our solar system. They are – Uranus and Neptune.
These two worlds, while iconic for their bluish appearance, are more than just eye-soothing colors. Both of these planets have conditions that could harden carbon atoms to such high extremes that they form diamonds. Unfortunately, you cannot survive on these planets to collect these diamonds.
Neptune and Uranus have a lot in common but are very different. (Photo: NASA)
WHY IS IT RAINING DIAMONDS?
Uranus and Neptune are characterized by their unique shades of blue which, although they appear similar, have very different characteristics. This blue color is the main reason for this unique condition on the planets. The color is the result of methane, which condenses so quickly on these haze particles that it effectively “snows” at the base of this layer, falling to lower, warmer levels, where the methane evaporates, releasing core haze particles.
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Naomi Rowe-Gurney, an astrophysicist, in a Nasa podcast said that methane is the reason these two planets are blue, and that methane contains carbon and carbon can occur on its own and also be crushed by the immense pressures that occur, like, deep in the atmosphere.
“Inside the planet, when it’s very hot and very dense, these, these diamonds form and build up, and then they get even heavier. And that means they kind of rain down into the atmosphere “said Naomi Rowe-Gurney.
However, she also added that it is not the rain that we see here because these pressures are extreme and we will never be able to get there as humans.
Neptune and Uranus, the last two planets in the outer reaches of the solar system, have a lot in common, including their sizes, masses, and atmospheric compositions, but they look very different from each other. While Neptune at a visible wavelength has a distinctly bluer color, Uranus is a pale shade of cyan.
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