• Shreya Rathi

Is it raining diamonds?

YES. You read it right! Scientists believe that deep within the exterior planets of our Solar System, like Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus, there is a HIGH possibility that it is raining diamonds! New atmospheric data for these gas giants indicates that carbon is abundant in its dazzling crystal form. The lightning storms turn methane into soot which hardens into chunks of graphite and as it falls it changes into diamonds!

These diamond “hailstones” are believed to eventually melt into a liquid sea in the planets’ hot cores. The biggest diamonds would likely be about a centimetre in diameter! Though uncut, its size is perfect for a ring. And not just one ring.

1000 TONNES of diamonds are being created on Saturn, EVERY YEAR!

Apart from the planets in our Solar System, there are so many planets in the universe which is known for its uniqueness!

A planet HAT-P-7b (around a thousand light-years away from us) has the ideal conditions and ingredients to make rubies and sapphires! This planet with a temperature of 2500 degrees Celsius, is impressively beautiful owing to its shimmering jewel-like surface. HAT-P-7b is so close to its sun that it completes its entire orbit in a mere 2.2 days!

Also, it is known as locked planet. That is, the side that faces its sun is fixed, so it’s always day on the half hemisphere and always night on the other hemisphere. This causes massive temperature differences. Due to this temperature difference, the winds send rock vapors to the cooler side, where they condense and precipitate as rubies and sapphires.

NOT ONLY JEWELS. There are various different kinds of rains in our universe.

A planet that resembles Earth from space and popularly identified as “pale blue dot” is the epitome that ‘appearances can be deceptive’. The blue color doesn’t come from sparkling lakes or oceans, but blazing particles of glass whooshing around at speeds of 7242 kilometres per hour! This planet, HD 189733b belongs to a class of planets known as “hot Jupiters”, which are the planets that are similar to Jupiter but are placed extremely close to their star. Similar to the above planet, it is also a locked planet! Owing to the temperature differences between the two hemispheres of the planet, the winds howl at really high speeds making the molten glass rain a lot more vicious!

Next up we have IRON RAIN. OGLE TR is a strong independent planet that needs NO STAR. It is one of the RARE planets that doesn’t revolve around any star but exists independently. The planet has a gorgeous shade of red due to its clouds made up of hot silicates and iron. These clouds bring with them a downpour of glowing red-hot molten iron.

But now, if the planet has no star, which heat source keeps the iron in the molten state? What keeps the planet flaming hot is the heat emitted from its own core. In fact, some scientists prefer to call it a very small sized star instead of a planet!

Moving to our Solar System, on Venus, it rains incredibly hot sulfuric acid! Venus' atmosphere is full of sulfuric acid clouds, but because the surface of the planet reaches 480 degrees Celsius, the rain only gets about as close to 25 kilometres to the surface before it becomes a gas.

Over on to Titan, Saturn's largest moon, there are icy methane rainstorms. Just as Earth has a water cycle, Titan has a methane cycle: There are seasonal rains, the methane rain fills up lakes, the lakes eventually evaporate and the vapor ascends into the clouds, starting the whole thing over again. Methane is in its liquid form on Titan because the surface temperature is an extremely chilly minus 179 degree Celsius. There are also solid-ice mountains on Titan.

These are just the start of the conversation about rain on other planets! There are dry ice-snow on Mars, liquid helium on Jupiter, and even a plasma rain on the sun!

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