Jupiter’s Imposing Asteroid Swarms Were Unexplainable by Science, but Not Anymore

Jupiter’s Imposing Asteroid Swarms Were Unexplainable by Science, but Not Anymore

Jupiter is a gas giant and the largest planet in our solar system. It is known for its distinctive red spot, which is a gigantic storm larger than the size of Earth. Jupiter also has a very strong magnetic field which is 20,000 times stronger than Earth’s, and generates intense radiation belts that can damage spacecraft.

One of the unique features of Jupiter is its composition, which is primarily made up of hydrogen and helium. Jupiter also has a thick atmosphere with layers of clouds and winds that can reach speeds of up to 620 miles per hour. It also has a high number of moons, 79 confirmed moons, four of which are the largest in the solar system: Ganymede, Callisto, Io, and Europa.

Over 10,000 asteroids move along the orbital path of Jupiter around the Sun

It was a scientific mystery why there was a significant difference between the number of asteroids present in the L4 and L5 Trojan swarms from Jupiter’s orbital path around the Sun. There are more than 10,000 asteroids there orbiting our star along with Jupiter. 

An international team of scientists that includes NYUAD researcher Nikolaos Georgakarakos might now have the answer to the conundrum. Jian Li from Nanjing University explained, as EurekAlert quotes:

We propose that an outward, in terms of distance to the Sun, fast migration of Jupiter can distort the configuration of the Trojan swarms, resulting in more stable orbits in the L4 swarm than in the L5 one,

This mechanism, which temporarily induced different evolution paths for the two asteroid groups that share the orbit of Jupiter, provides a new and natural explanation for the unbiased observation, that the L4 asteroids are about 1.6 times more than the asteroids in the L5 swarm.

The new study was published in Astronomy & Astrophysics. 


Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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