Scientific study discovers ammonia never detected on Neptune and Uranus

Scientists found it difficult to understand the formation process of these two planets, due to the lack of this component.

Historically, scientists who study the behavior of the planets of the solar system have had doubts with the process of formation of two rocky bodies specifically. It is about Neptune and Uranus. Experts explain that for two worlds to grow in the universe, one element is fundamental in the whole mechanism: ammonia.

This important component of planet formation has never appeared in astronomers’ measurements of atmospheres from Earth with infrared observatories. Then they wondered: What about the ammonia of Neptune and Uranus? Where is?

Over the years, theories began to emerge indicating that these two worlds had had a different formation process. The Slash Gear portal explains that scientists did not understand the lack of this component, despite the abundant methane detected. Therefore, they were always categorized as special worlds, with poor ammonia birth process.

However, a recent study led by a scientist named Tristan Guillot shows that ammonia has been hiding all this time. The researcher presented his work at Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021. And he specifies that the component is found in a kind of mushroom balls; phrase with which they refer to a group of giant and muddy hailstones made from a mixture of ammonia and water.

So this process detected on Jupiter shows that mushroom balls could be highly effective in transporting ammonia into the atmospheres of ice giants, hiding the detection gas under opaque clouds.

Juno space probe
The Juno space probe, which is mainly dedicated to the study of Jupiter, has focused its attention on Uranus and Neptune. Thus, it confirmed what scientists had already detected from Earth: the lack of ammonia in the atmospheres of these two neighbors.

However, during their observations of the gas giant, they noticed this process of the mushroom balls, which carry the component into the interior of the planets. And due to its specific location, the clouds do not allow the alarms to go off on earthly radars.

Without much ado, Guillot says: “The Juno spacecraft has shown that on Jupiter, ammonia is present in abundance, but generally much deeper than expected, thanks to the formation of mushroom balls. I show that what we have learned on Jupiter can be applied to provide a plausible solution to this mystery. on Uranus and Neptune ”.

He further adds: “Thermodynamic chemistry implies that this process is even more efficient on Uranus and Neptune, and the seed region of the fungus extends and occurs at greater depths. Therefore, it is likely that ammonia is simply hidden in the deep atmospheres of these planets, beyond the reach of current instruments. “

These statements by scientist Tristan Guillot, issued in his study presented at the aforementioned congress, were rescued by a Phys Org publication.