Jupiter et la silhouette métallique d'un nuage rouge sur le ciel

Amazing! The gas inside the planet Jupiter is different from that on the surface

A international team of astronomers led by Yamila Miguel an astrophysicist working at the Leiden Observatory has decided to study the envelope of Jupiter. Scientists have noticed that the outer gaseous envelope of the planet is not homogeneousthat is, its molecular composition varies from inside to outside.

Jupiter and the metallic silhouette of a red cloud on the sky

However, it turns out that the innermost layer of this envelope, which represents 3 to 9% of the total mass of the planet, seems richer in metals. Moreover, according to their calculation, this metallicity seems to be very high. This suggests that the planetisimals must have played an important role in the formation of jupiter.

Fragments of planets about a kilometer in diameter are made mostly of metals. The team published the results of this work in the journal scientist Astronomy & Astrophysics.

The Juno mission made it possible to observe the surface of the planet

Jupiter is the largest planet of the solar system. The Juno space mission initiated by NASA landed on its surface in 2016. Astronomers then had the opportunity to observe the great beauty from the surface of this giant planet.

Besides a gigantic anticyclonee which leaves a beautiful red spot visible in its southern hemisphere, it is also strewn with many hurricanes that give the planet a mystical appearance and are reminiscent of a painting by Van Gogh.

Measurements and mathematical models to study the composition of Jupiter

The gas envelope is hidden under a thin layer of gas and is not not immediately apparent. Astronomers then used the Juno survey probe to measure the intensity of gravitational attraction at different places on the planet.

These measurements allowed them to determine the composition of this thick layer of gas and to conclude that it is not as homogeneous and well mixed as they thought. Indeed, its center is much more saturated with metals. Besides, some theoretical models respecting the observational constraints measured by Juno have confirmed this hypothesis.


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