Scientists have recreated the helium rain that can fall in the atmospheres of gas giants like Jupiter. The research is published in the journal Nature.
Scientists have recreated the weather in the laboratory, which is typical for planets such as Jupiter and Saturn. Using extremely high pressure and laser shock waves, the researchers created what they call “helium rain.”
The atmospheres of gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn are composed primarily of hydrogen and helium. Previously, scientists predicted that under such conditions, helium should form liquid droplets and fall, but this has not been experimentally confirmed. Up to this day.
French and American scientists have recreated the weather conditions typical of the gas giants in the laboratory, and as a result, helium rain did indeed form.
To do this, the researchers compressed a mixture of hydrogen and helium at about 40,000 times the pressure of the Earth’s atmosphere. The scientists then hit the gases with a laser, creating strong shock waves. They compressed hydrogen and helium even more and heated them to temperatures between 4,425°C and 9,925°C.
Helium is not the only unusual substance that rains in the atmospheres of other planets. Astronomers have previously found evidence of extraterrestrial rain composed of rocks, diamonds, rubies, and iron.