Jupiter has experienced a giant direct collision with an embryonic planet, billions of years ago. Scientists say at the time, the gassy planet was still forming and it has swallowed a protoplanet completely. That’s what scientists have studied from NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which is revolving around the planet since 2016. They surmise this impact with the planet, about ten times bigger than Earth, reveals some facts about Jupiter’s puzzling gassy central core. The internal layer of the giant planet in the solar system consists of hard rocks along with hydrogen. Thus it has long amazed astronomers. But the latest finding sheds light on the exciting and violent formation of the solar system.
Scientists from Rice University in the US and Sun Yat-sen University in China have carried out the study published in the journal Nature. The analysis estimates simulations of such theory result in a core structure that is steady with a diluted core. Scientists say the churned core is a result of a massive collision in ancient times. The event might have mixed the bulky materials at the center with the liquid or gaseous layers above it. Even more, Juno has revealed that metals are scattered to further form the core. It has resulted in a more diluted core.
Shangfei Liu, a Chinese astronomer and leading author of the study, notes information from Juno reveals Jupiter has a fuzzy core that lies up to almost half of its radius. Though the incident sounds powerful, the under-development Jupiter might have digested the planetary embryo. As per Liu, a planetary embryo is a still-shaping protoplanet, which mainly consists of ice and rock from the solar nebula. To obtain the results, the team has made thousands of computer simulations. After a long period of hard work, they have found Jupiter could have broken the orbits of its neighboring planets. Even more, the models have revealed a 40% probability that Jupiter would crash with a planetary embryo in its infancy. In the end, the study offers further proof of the violent circumstances of the solar system in the early stages.