Experiments validate the possibility of helium rain in Jupiter and Saturn

An international team of researchers, including scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, the University of Rochester and the University of California, Berkeley, detail experimental evidence validating the existence of helium rain inside of planets like Jupiter and Saturn, supporting a nearly 40-year-old hypothesis.

Giant lasers compress iron oxide, revealing the secret interior structure of rocky exoplanets

Advances in astronomical observations have resulted in the discovery of an extraordinary number of extrasolar planets, some of which are believed to have a rocky composition similar to Earth. Learning more about their interior structure could provide important clues about their potential habitability. Led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), a team of researchers aims to unlock some of these secrets by understanding the properties of iron oxide – one of the constituents of Earth’s mantle – at the extreme pressures and temperatures that are likely found in the interiors of these large rocky extrasolar planets.