Study: Jupiter Drifted Into Its Orbit Over 700,000 Years…
Jupiter, the gas giant planet at the center of our solar system, drifted there over the course of a nearly million-year journey toward a closer orbit around the sun.
The new theory is the product of observations of thousands of asteroids around the planet—and particularly their alignment, as reported in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
The clues were from the asymmetry in the Trojan asteroids, which orbit approximately the same distance from the sun as the planet.…
The one that is in front is approximately 50 percent larger in number than the one behind.
The computational models showed the asymmetry, which has always been unexplained, could only occur if Jupiter was formed four times farther out in the solar system—and drifted in toward our star.…
The models further indicated that Jupiter started as an ice asteroid far out from the sun, without its huge gas envelope, according to the paper. In fact, Jupiter was no bigger than the Earth from the outset.
Somewhere between 2 and 3 million years into its existence as an orbiting planet, Jupiter began its journey lasting 700,000 years, gradually orbiting closer and closer because of gravitational forces from the surrounding gases in the solar system, according to the experts.
Along the way, the planet collected the Trojan asteroids—and due to the physics involved, more ended up ahead of it in orbit than behind it, according to the paper.…
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