(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have discovered that the interior of Jupiter is full of remnants of “germ” planets that the gas giant swallowed up during its expansion.
This giant planet has been surprising scientists for a long time, but until now they have been very actively arguing about its formation. Now it turns out that a celestial body appeared due to the devouring of the embryos of the planets
Even though Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, we know very little about its interior. Telescopes have taken thousands of pictures of the vortex clouds in the gas giant’s upper atmosphere, but these storms also act as a barrier that keeps us from seeing what’s inside this planet.
In a new study, scientists are finally able to look beyond Jupiter’s cloud cover using gravity data collected by NASA’s Juno space probe.
This data allowed astronomers to map the rocky material at the core of the giant planet, which revealed a surprisingly high abundance of heavy elements.
The chemistry suggests that Jupiter ate the embryonic planets, or planetesimals, to build up mass during its formation.
There are two competing theories about how Jupiter managed to form its core. One theory is that Jupiter “devoured” billions of smaller cosmic rocky objects, which astronomers call “pebbles” (although these rocks are probably closer in size to boulders).
The opposite theory, which is supported by the results of the new study, is that Jupiter’s core was formed as a result of the absorption of many planetesimals – large rocky bodies several kilometers in size that could potentially become the cores of planets such as Earth and Mars.
The new models point to a planetesimal origin for Jupiter because the “pebble” accretion theory cannot explain such a high concentration of heavy elements.
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