|Date: Thursday, 09-June-2022, 2:23 PM | Message # 1
-- dragon lord--
|Jupiter turns out to be inhomogeneous; metallicity gives clues about origin
by SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research
An international team of astronomers, led by Yamila Miguel (SRON/Leiden Observatory), has found that Jupiter's gaseous envelope doesn't have a homogeneous distribution. The inner part has more metals than the outer parts, adding up to a total of between 11 and 30 earth masses, meaning 3–9% of Jupiter's total mass. This is a high enough metallicity to conclude that kilometer-sized bodies—planetesimals—must have played a role in Jupiter's formation. It will be published on June 8 in Astronomy & Astrophysics.
When NASA's Juno space mission arrived at Jupiter in 2016, we caught a glimpse of the remarkable beauty of the biggest planet in our solar system. Besides the famous Great Red Spot, Jupiter turns out to be littered with hurricanes, almost giving it the appearance and mystique of a Van Gogh painting. The planet's envelope underneath the thin visible layer however, is not immediately apparent. Still, Juno is able to paint us a picture by sensing the gravitational pull above different locations on Jupiter. This gives astronomers information about the composition of the interior, which is not like what we see in the surface.
An international team of astronomers, led by Yamila Miguel (SRON/Leiden Observatory), now found that the gaseous envelope is not as homogenous and well-mixed as previously thought. Instead it has a higher contraction of metals—elements heavier than hydrogen and helium—toward the center of the planet. To reach their conclusions, the team built a number of theoretical models that adhere to the observational constraints measured by Juno.
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