A new theoretical method paves the way to modelling the interior of the ice giants Uranus and Neptune, thanks to computer simulations on the water contained within them. The tool, developed by scientists from SISSA in Trieste and the University of California at Los Angeles and recently published in Nature Communications, allows one to analyse thermal and electric processes occurring at physical conditions that are often impossible to reproduce experimentally, with a much easier and low-cost approach. In this research, the scholars have analysed the conduction of electricity and heat of water under extreme temperature and pressure conditions, such as those that occur inside ice-giant planets as well as in many exo-planets outside of it. Investigating the phenomena that occur under their surface, in fact, is key to understand the evolution of these celestial bodies, to establish their age, and to shed light onto the geometry and evolution of their magnetic fields.
Inside the ice giants of space
10 August 2020
The new research has been published in Nature Communications