Jupiter is the largest planet in our Solar System and the fifth one from the sun. It is so large that it is two times and a half more significant than all the other planets in the Solar System. The planet is made of hydrogen, which is the main component, but also helium. Besides the two gaseous elements, it also has a core comprised of heavier elements such as a variety of rocks that are very diffuse and fragmented in such a way that it does not form a solid surface.
Until now, scientists could not explain how the giant planet formed. But recent studies indicate that Jupiter might have absorbed a small planet which is possible to have collided with a massive planet.
The impact is believed to have happened 4.5 billion years ago during the early days of our Solar System. Juno space probe is the one that collected the data that helped the researchers come up with this theory.
Ancient Jupiter ‘Ate’ A Massive Planet, That Explaining How The Gas Giant Formed As We Know It
There are also many other theories about how Jupiter formed and why the inner core is so dispersed. One theory is that the powerful winds on the planet had caused slow and steady erosion. A third theory is that Jupiter’s core was gaseous from the start. Despite all these theories, the first one that has as an originator, a protoplanet, is the most plausible most likely because the dispersed core holds on in the last billion of years.
This collision of a planet with a protoplanet makes the researchers believe that in the early days of the Solar System such collisions were a regular occurrence, especially with planets such as Saturn. Researchers have found clues of at least such an event happening to different planets in the system.
The results of the research have been published in the journal Nature. The team of scientists is comprised of scientists from different countries: Japan, China, Switzerland, and the U.S.