(ORDO NEWS) — Jupiter may be the most voracious planet in the solar system, according to new data from NASA‘s Juno spacecraft , which has detected possible remnants of protoplanets lurking beneath the gas giant’s opaque atmosphere.
A new article published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics highlights the findings of an international consortium of astronomers who, after closely examining data from the Juno orbiter, found that the gas mixture that makes up Jupiter is rich in elements of “heavy metals”, which indicates that that in the distant past, the planet swallowed up many planetesimals.
Based on the available data, scientists have built computer models to try to understand what is hidden in the depths of the gaseous shell of Jupiter.
According to the models obtained, Jupiter acquired its current chemical composition by “devouring” hydrogen and helium left after the birth of the Sun, as well as nascent planets (protoplanets) and fragments that broke away from other celestial bodies that often collided with each other.
“Jupiter was not only one of the first planets to form in our solar system, but also the most influential planet in the development of the solar system,” Yamila Miguel, a Dutch astrophysicist and study leader.
Jupiter and planetary cannibalism
The gravitational influence of Jupiter is very strong, so it is believed that he helped the Sun to give a complete form to the solar system.
But before this study, astrophysicists disagreed about whether it was formed as a result of the absorption of other planets or space debris left after the final formation of the Sun.
Now, based on data from a new study, scientists may have been able to unravel the mystery of Jupiter’s origin.
This study, as noted by Live Science, could help pave the way for understanding the nature of the formation of Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
Probably all the gaseous planets of the solar system became so large due to the absorption of other, smaller planets. It’s amazing and terrifying at the same time.
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