Researchers from the United States, Japan, Germany and the UK experimented at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to mimic the diamond rain within the interior of icy giant planets. This phenomenon, carried out at the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), included the recreation of celestial climates is termed as lab astrophysics. It is a method of simulation of grand galactic events on smaller temporal and spatial scales wherein the physical parameters can be modified. The anomaly of ‘diamond rain’ was produced in the laboratory by inducing severe conditions environmentally. High temperatures and pressures were induced in polysterene, a plastic used to imitate methane, the substance responsible for Neptune’s unique bluish shade.
In the original occurrence, Methane bonds to form chains of hydrocarbons that react in to high pressure and temperature, forming “diamond rain” in the interiors of giant icy planets auch as Neptune. It is deduced that this precipitation occurs nearly five thousand miles underneath the surface of the planet. The planet interiors are found to consist of solid cores, along with a thick slush of various types of ice. The experiment demonstrated that each carbon atom of the plastic was included in the formation of tiny structures of diamonds, about a few nanometers in width. The researchers anticipate the formation of considerably larger formations, on Neptune and Uranus, which could be up to millions of carats in weight. This has been the first of its kind successful attempt at recreating diamond rain, for a very brief time, with the use of X-Ray pulses and powerful optical lasers.