Diamond planets: where are the gems in space and where to look for them

High pressure, heat and a lot of carbon, under such conditions it is impossible to live on the planet, but it is excellent

diamonds are formed.

What are diamond planets?

In the scientific community, such objects are called notdiamond, but carbon-rich planets. The authors found that objects outside our solar system and rich in carbon may be composed of diamonds.

According to the TESS telescope and Kepler, in ourThere are many objects in the galaxy that are not Earth-like, and for good reason. Planets are formed from a cloud of dust and gas that surrounds a star. This substance initially formed the star itself, and then the planet turned out of the remnants, which begins to revolve around it. From this, astronomers concluded that the elements that make up the planets are unique to their stars.

Therefore, if the star was rich in carbon, then the resulting planet will also contain it. And this is one of the main conditions for the formation of diamonds.

Earth is also a diamond planet, since there are diamonds on it?

Not really.On the Sun, the ratio of carbon to oxygen is not high, so our planet has a lot of silicates and oxides, as well as compounds with oxygen and silica, but diamonds are only 0.001% of the total composition. So, there are diamonds, but there are very few of them.

But on exoplanets that astronomers discover,the ratio of carbon to oxygen is higher. Accordingly, they have more material to create diamonds. Therefore, astronomers conclude that there could potentially be diamonds on these planets and there are many times more of them than were formed on Earth.

What do diamond planets look like?

On such planets, there will be a lot of smog in the atmosphere, they are also saturated with carbon dioxide. Their surface is covered with resin-like deposits.

Scientists from the University of Chicago created a modelhow diamonds form inside carbon-rich planets. The conditions necessary for this are high temperature and pressure. The silicon carbide then reacts with water to form diamonds and silicon dioxide.

What planets can have diamonds?

  • Exoplanet 55 Cancri e

In 2021, astronomers discovered an object thatcalled 55 Cancri e - it is a rocky planet, it is twice the size of the Earth and eight times heavier. It has been classified as a super-Earth. 55 Cancri e orbits its star in just 18 hours. As a result, the surface temperature reaches 2148 °C. Such conditions are unsuitable for life, but ideal for the formation of diamonds.

  • Uranus and Neptune

Scientists have put forward a hypothesis that if on Uranus andNeptune has high pressure, it can compress hydrogen with carbon: this will make a diamond rain. Recently, in 2020, they decided to test these ideas: scientists organized an experiment where they repeated what can happen on ice giant planets. As a result, the authors were able to record a rain of diamonds.

According to the authors, it does not look like a normalrain on Earth, as the process occurs about 7000 km from the surface and at high pressure. Under such conditions, methane decomposes into hydrogen and carbon. Further, hydrogen, since it is lighter, rises into the atmosphere, and diamonds are formed from carbon.

  • Mercury

At the Conference on Lunar and Planetary Sciencespresented a study according to which there may be 16 quadrillion tons of diamonds on Mercury. The authors of the work conducted a simulation, based on its results, they concluded that the surface of the planet could be littered with diamonds.

Most often in nature, pure carbon can bemeet in the form of graphite Therefore, it can potentially turn into diamonds if a meteorite or other celestial body collides with the planet. Mercury is suitable for such conditions, since it was attacked by meteorites during the period of the early universe, this happened in the period from 4.1 to 3.8 billion years ago.

Where can the rest of the diamonds be hiding?

There are other, more distant planetary candidates,rich in diamonds. For example, these are objects that are around the dead star PSR 1257+12. Three of these planets are roughly the size of Earth and could have formed from the destruction of a carbon-rich star.

Carbon planets can also bedistributed near the center of the Galaxy, the stars contain more carbon than in the spiral arms. Near the latter is our solar system, it is located about 26 thousand light years from the middle of the galaxy.

Potentially, such objects can be used formining, but at the moment, researchers do not know for sure what is on the planets called diamond. Now any conclusions about the number of gems there are based only on indirect factors and mathematical models, and not on real observations.

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