If you’re at least a bit interested in astronomy, surely you have an idea of how huge the planet Jupiter is. It’s the biggest planet in our Solar System, measuring 43,440.7 miles (69,911 kilometers) in its radius. That makes the gas giant 11 times wider than Earth. Jupiter is so big that about 1,300 planets the size of Earth would fit inside of it.
The biggest planet in the Solar System also operates as a guardian for Earth, attracting many of the dangerous asteroids and comets that come too close. Due to its size, Jupiter also has a much more powerful gravity than Earth. There’s no wonder why many believe that it’s a divine plan for Jupiter to exist and have such sizes. God might have put it there to protect us from comets and asteroids.
But scientifically speaking, why is Jupiter so huge? Even God has proven to do things by obeying the laws of nature, so what recipe did he have to make Jupiter so big? Thanks to a new study that Sky News tells us about, we might have the answer.
Jupiter might have eaten chunks from other planets
According to the new study in question done by an international team of scientists who were led by Yamila Miguel from the SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Jupiter might have engulfed planetesimals to get as big as it is now.
Planetesimals are objects that could exist in protoplanetary disks. In other words, they’re “chunks of planets.”
Astronomers came to the new wild theory because NASA’s Juno spacecraft found a high concentration of metals towards the center of Jupiter. This indicates the possibility exposed above, that the gas giant might have become so big because it engulfed planetesimals. It’s in fact the most likely explanation, according to the study.
The new research was published in Astronomy & Astrophysics.