Yes, you read that right…. raining diamonds. But don’t drop your pens for a bucket just yet as this occurrence has only been reported on Saturn and Jupiter.
How does this happen? Well lightning storms turn methane into soot, which is a form of carbon, and as it falls the soot hardens and turns into graphite and then into diamonds which fall from the sky like hail stone. The scientists who researched this say that the biggest diamonds to fall are around one centimetre in diameter, just the right size for a lovely pair of earrings.
It has long been thought that Uranus and Neptune harbour gemstones but Saturn and Jupiter were never thought to have a suitable atmosphere to create the diamonds, this was until they gathered further atmospheric data about the two planets.
Through scientific research and chemistry its has been estimated that 1,000 tonnes of diamonds fall on Saturn and Jupiter each year.
Diamonds falling like hail begins in the upper atmosphere in a place called Thunderstorm Alleys, where lightning turns methane into soot. As the soot falls the pressure increases and after about 1,000 miles of falling it hardens and turns into graphite chunks. When the chunks of graphite fall for about 6,000km they toughen up into diamonds which then continue to fall for approximately another 30,000km. At this stage there is no way the diamonds could stay as a solid because the temperature and pressure is way too high. There is nothing in any research that explains what happens to the carbon when the diamonds liquefy but it has been suggested that it goes into a liquid sea of carbon.
It turns out that diamonds are not forever… Well at least not on Saturn and Jupiter!