25Jun2017

Solar System’s Largest Planet May Be The Oldest

Giant

Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, and it might also be the oldest.

Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, and it might also be the oldest. According to a new study, researchers have found evidence that Jupiter is the oldest of the planets thanks to an analysis of 19 meteorite samples on Earth.

The new analysis suggests that Jupiter formed only about 1 million years after the dawn of the Solar System 4.5 billion years ago. Researchers examining the meteorites found that they appear to be formed from two different reserves of material in the early Solar System.

“The most plausible mechanism for this efficient separation is the formation of Jupiter, opening a gap in the disc (a plane of gas and dust from stars) and preventing the exchange of material between the two reservoirs,” Thomas Kruijer, lead author of the study, said

Long story short: Jupiter formed so quickly and was so giant that it kept two different reserves of early planetary material from intermingling in the early days of the Solar System. Kruijer and the team of researchers were able to differentiate between the two reservoirs of material by measuring isotopes in the meteorite samples.

Jupiter's southern hemisphere.

Jupiter’s southern hemisphere.

They found that each set of material did exist within the same period of time in the early Solar System, but they didn’t intermix, meaning that something — in this case, Jupiter — must have been keeping them separated. Scientists can’t directly measure meteorites from Jupiter because we don’t have any.

“We do not have any samples from Jupiter, in contrast to other bodies like the Earth, Mars, the Moon and asteroids,” Kruijer said. “In our study, we use isotope signatures of meteorites (which are derived from asteroids) to infer Jupiter’s age.” These results are far from a sure thing, and it’ll still take more research to figure out exactly when and how Jupiter formed in the early days of the Solar System.

“We need more evidence that says this is where those two meteorite classes form – one inward and one outward,” Cornell University’s Jonathan Lunine told New Scientist of the finding. “But it’s a very nice measurement.”

By learning more about Jupiter, we can also learn more about the evolution of every other planet in the Solar System. Jupiter has more mass than all of the other planets combined, and its immense gravity helped shape the orbits of the other objects in the Solar System as they move around the Sun.  Source: Yahoo

 

Local Gas giant Adds Two More To Its Roster

Image result for jupiter  moons

 The planet Jupiter is a beast: Three-hundred-and-seventeen times the mass of the Earth, mostly made of metallic hydrogen, and at the center of an astonishing collective of orbiting natural bodies.

In fact, Jupiter’s satellites form a shrunken version of a full planetary system: from the tightly bound larger Galilean moons (orbiting in their Laplacian mean-motion resonances, akin to places like the exoplanet system Trappist-1) to the remarkable array of smaller moonlets that encircle this world out to more than 30 million kilometers. These bodies circle Jupiter in anywhere from about 7 hours to an astonishing 1,000 days.

Until recently, the cataloged satellites totaled 67 in number. But only the innermost 15 of these orbit Jupiter in a prograde sense (in the direction of the planet’s spin). The rest are retrograding, and are likely captured objects—other pieces of the Solar System’s solid inventory that strayed into Jupiter’s gravitational grasp.

That population of outer moons is mostly small stuff, only a few are 20-60 kilometers in diameter, most are barely 1-2 kilometers in size, and increasingly difficult to spot. Now astronomers Scott Sheppard, David Tholen, and Chadwick Trujillo have added two more; bringing Jupiter’s moon count to 69.

These additions are also about 1-2 km in size, and were spotted in images that were part of a survey for much more distant objects out in the Kuiper Belt. Jupiter just happened to be conveniently close in the sky at the time. The moons are S/2016 J1 and S/2017 J1, and are about 21 million km and 24 million km from Jupiter.

By themselves these small satellites don’t amount to much. But they are a vivid reminder of the sheer abundance of material out there in our Solar System, and of Jupiter’s royal gravitational status. Source: Scientific American

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