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Ocean of diamonds

天王星和海王星会下钻石雨?

中文 英文 双语 2017-09-15    来源:21世纪学生英文报·高一      阅读数:44406
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导读:钻石是地球上最名贵的宝石,需要经过地球内部数十亿年的高温高压才能形成。然而在遥远的海王星和天王星上,天上竟然能下钻石雨?……
Over the years, countless poets and songwriters have described the night sky as looking as if it were full of diamonds. As it turns out, there could be some truth in that.
多年来,无数的诗人和词曲作家都曾以“仿佛缀满钻石”的字眼来形容夜空。而事实上,这种说法也确实有些道理。

On Earth, natural diamonds are formed when carbon-containing minerals are mixed with high pressure and heat over billions of years.
当地球上的含碳矿物经受了数十亿年的高压高温,天然钻石就形成了。

Within the faraway icy planets of Neptune and Uranus, however, it’s believed that diamonds are formed in a more interesting way.
然而在遥远的寒冷星球海王星和天王星上,人们认为钻石的形成方式更加有趣。

The planets, which are both around four times bigger than Earth, are each covered by an ocean made up of water and hydrocarbons.
这两颗行星都比地球要大4倍左右,表面上都覆盖着由水和碳氢化合物组成的海洋。

It’s believed that the huge pressure and high temperatures within the planets lead to diamonds being created from the ocean’s hydrocarbons. These diamonds then “rain” down to the center of the planets.
人们认为,行星上的高压及高温令海洋中的碳氢化合物形成了钻石。这些钻石继而又会像“下雨”一样落回到行星中心。

But while this has always just been a theory, a team of researchers recently decided to try it out for themselves.
尽管这一说法向来只是个理论,一组研究人员最近却决定亲自进行实验。

According to a study published in the science journal Nature Astronomy in August, the scientists attempted to create “diamond rain” by firing lasers at polystyrene, a common plastic material that’s very much like the hydrocarbons on the two planets.
在科学期刊《自然·天文学》八月刊登的一项研究中,科学家们试图用激光点燃聚苯乙烯来创造“钻石雨”。聚苯乙烯是种常见的塑料原料,和两颗行星表面的碳氢化合物成分十分相似。

Using special equipment, the researchers managed to create conditions like those on Neptune and Uranus. They used two kinds of lasers, creating a similar temperature and pressure to those found around 10,000 kilometers inside the planets.
研究人员通过使用特殊设备,创造出了类似于海王星和天王星上的环境。他们使用了两种激光,形成了与行星内部10000公里处相似的温度和压力。

Following their brief experiment, the team discovered that they had created diamonds successfully, although they were only a few nanometers in diameter.
研究团队在简短的实验过后发现,他们成功地创造出了钻石,尽管这些钻石直径只有几纳米。

However, Dominik Kraus, co-author of the study, believes that deep within Neptune and Uranus, the diamonds would be a lot bigger. According to Kraus, they could also be the reason why the inner layers of the ice giants are so hot.
然而,该研究的合著者多米尼克·克劳斯认为,在海王星和天王星的深处,形成的钻石要大得多。克劳斯表示,钻石或许也是令这两颗冰巨星的内层温度如此之高的原因。

“These diamonds will sink down … and when they sink down, there will be friction with the surrounding area … and all this generates heat,” he wrote in the study.
“这些钻石将会下沉 —— 当它们下沉时,将会和周围环境产生摩擦 —— 如此一来便会产生高温,”他在研究中写道。

It’s hoped that the findings could eventually lead to easier and cheaper ways of creating artificial diamonds, which are used in everything from jewellery to machinery.
人们希望,这些发现最终能带来更简单经济的制造人造钻石的方法,能够应用于从珠宝业到机械业的方方面面。

But until scientists discover how to truly fill the sky with diamonds, we’ll just have to stick with songs and poetry.
但在科学家们发现如何真正让天空缀满钻石之前,我们还是继续创作歌曲和诗歌吧。

21英语网站版权说明  (Translator & Editor: Wang Xingwei AND Ji Yuan)


以上文章内容选自《21世纪学生英文报高中版》,详情请见《21世纪学生英文报高中版》高一684期
辞海拾贝
Diamonds钻石 Carbon-containing minerals含碳矿物
Neptune海王星 Uranus天王星
Hydrocarbons碳氢化合物 Theory理论
Lasers激光 Polystyrene聚苯乙烯
Equipment设备 Nanometers纳米
Inner layers内层 Friction摩擦
Generates产生 Artificial人工的
Jewellery珠宝 Machinery机械


 
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