ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Diamond Rain on Neptune and Uranus

Updated on March 23, 2011

Diamonds, the strongest bulk material known to mankind, are coveted on Earth although they may not be very rare elsewhere in the solar system. Two of our celestial neighbors, Neptune and Uranus, may contain more bling than all the jewelry stores on Earth combined. It is theorized that diamonds fall like raindrops from the atmospheres of both planets, and may perhaps even pile up miles thick towards the planetary cores (Tyson 2000, Eggert et el 2010 & Sanders 1999).

Uranus and Neptune have similar geological compositions, each being made up of a three layer structure. Both planets contain a hydrogen-helium atmosphere, a water-methane-ammonia ice mantle, and a rocky or metallic (maybe diamond?) core. It is also theorized that both planets have churning methane oceans several thousand degrees Kelvin in temperature (Hirai et el 2009).

The scientist Marvin Ross first suggested that diamond formation could occur on Neptune and Uranus in 1981. Large amounts of methane is found on both planets (methane being an important constituent in the planets’ overall chemical constitutions). Under extreme temperature and pressure this methane can be converted into crystalline diamond form as well as other complex organic matter compounds (Kerr 1999). Shock compression studies performed by Hirai et el recorded the transition of methane into diamond at 19 GPa and between 2200 and 3000 degrees Kelvin. The conversion of methane into diamond is primarily dependent on temperature, but the ambient pressure of the atmosphere is also important to consider (2009).

In addition to being awesome, diamond rain could also account for the excess heat radiated from Neptune (in addition to heat from the sun). Energy released by diamonds falling and settling towards the planet’s core is thought to boost the magnetic field of Neptune, thus increasing the heat radiated from the planet (Sanders 1999 and Kerr 1999). Although diamond rain has not been a proven phenomenon, it is pretty amazing to imagine. Given the experimental evidence, it is also not an unlikely occurrence.

Thanks for Reading! Works Consulted:

Eggert, J., D. Hicks, P. Celliers, D. Bradley, R. McWilliams, R. Jeanloz, J. Miller, T. Boehly and G. Collins. (2010). Melting Temperature of Diamond at Ultrahigh Pressure . Nature Physics. 6: 40-43.

Hirai, H., K. Konagia, T. Kawamura, Y. Yamamoto and T. Yagi. (2009). Polymerization of Diamond Formation from Melting Methane and their Implications in Ice Layer of Giant Planets . Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors. 174: 242-246.

Kerr, R. (1999). Neptune May Crush Methane into Diamonds . Science. 286(5437): 25.

Ross, M. (1981). The Ice Layer in Uranus and Neptune- Diamonds in the Sky? Nature 292: 435-436.

Sanders, R. (6 Oct 1999). It’s Raining Diamonds on Neptune and Uranus.  The Berkeleyan . Retrieved from

Tyson, P. (2000). Diamonds in the Sky . Retrieved from


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      7 years ago

      So awesome I'm using the iPad here in school for a project and this is just amazing for sure were gonna wow the class!!!!!wish me luck for a

    • LawrenceS profile image

      Lawrence Stripling 

      7 years ago

      I enjoyed reading it. Voted it up.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 

      8 years ago from United States

      Really interesting! I'm sharing this one. Thanks, DF

    • mslizzee profile image


      8 years ago from Buncombe County, NC

      A rain of diamonds? I'm in!

      Thank you for an unusual look into the cosmos.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)