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'Jupiter swallowed planet 10 times the size of Earth'
Deccan Chronicle ^ | 8/12/10

Posted on 08/13/2010 12:01:53 PM PDT by LibWhacker

Jupiter, the biggest planet in the solar system, might have gained its dominant position after swallowing up a smaller planet, scientists believe.

Studies on Jupiter have revealed that the giant planet, which is more than 120 times bigger than the Earth, has an extremely small core that weighs just two to 10 Earth masses.

Now scientists have claimed that Jupiter's core might have been vaporised in huge collision with a planet up to ten times the size of Earth, the New Scientist reported.

Researchers led by by Shu Lin Li of Peking University in China have modelled what might have happened in the wake of the collision. Their simulations showed that the incoming rocky body flattened like a pancake when it hit the gas giant's atmosphere.

Then it barrelled into the giant's core about half an hour later and the energy of the collision could have vaporised much of the core.

These vaporised heavy elements would then have mixed with the hydrogen and helium of the gas giant's atmosphere, leaving only a fraction of the gas giant's former core behind.

This could explain not only why Jupiter's core is so small, but also why its atmosphere is richer in heavy elements compared with the Sun, the scientists said.

Study co-author Douglas Lin at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said the super-Earth might have grown into a gas giant itself one day if it had not collided with Jupiter.

"It may very well have been on its way to becoming a gas giant, but lost the race and got gobbled up."

Saturn has a similar overabundance of heavy elements in its atmosphere and the scientists believe this could also be due to impacts by rocky objects smaller than Earth that decelerated and broke up before they could reach Saturn's core.

The team's simulations suggest that this would have left the core intact, or even added to its mass as fragments rained down onto it.

"It's an interesting explanation of why you might have a variety of core masses in giant planets," said William Hubbard of the University of Arizona in Tucson. "It's a very useful contribution."

According to scientists, the planets in the solar system were created by collisions between small dwarf planets orbiting the newborn Sun.

In the collisions the small planets melted together and formed larger planets. The Earth and Moon are the result of a gigantic collision between two planets the size of Mars and Venus, they said.


TOPICS: Astronomy; Science
KEYWORDS: astronomy; caltech; catastrophism; collision; cophater; deusexmachina; earth; jupiter; konstantinbatygin; mikebrown; ninthplanet; planet; planetx; racisn; science; smallplanet; solarsystem; swallow; velikovsky; xplanets
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1 posted on 08/13/2010 12:01:57 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker
RACISM!
2 posted on 08/13/2010 12:03:38 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: B-Chan

Jupiter will just use his Racial Credit Card.


3 posted on 08/13/2010 12:06:23 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: LibWhacker

Film at 11.


4 posted on 08/13/2010 12:06:42 PM PDT by centurion316
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To: LibWhacker
Studies on Jupiter have revealed that the giant planet, which is more than 120 times bigger than the Earth, has an extremely small core that weighs just two to 10 Earth masses.

Or, roughly the size of Michael Moore.

5 posted on 08/13/2010 12:10:57 PM PDT by GreenHornet
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To: LibWhacker
" . . .said the super-Earth might have grown into a gas
giant itself one day if it had not collided
with Jupiter.


Can you imagine the belch that would have created?
6 posted on 08/13/2010 12:12:30 PM PDT by righttackle44 (I may not be much, but I raised a United States Marine.)
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To: LibWhacker
"Jupiter, the biggest planet in the solar system, might have gained its dominant position after swallowing up a smaller planet, scientists believe."

And do planets burp after eating?
7 posted on 08/13/2010 12:13:09 PM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: righttackle44

You beat me to it by 39 seconds!!!


8 posted on 08/13/2010 12:13:54 PM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: LibWhacker

Why do they think that a huge planet could have shot to the core of Jupiter, blasting apart everything there, but by now still not allowing these fragments to have been pulled back in from the effect of gravity?


9 posted on 08/13/2010 12:15:15 PM PDT by ConservativeMind ("Humane" = "Don't pen up pets or eat meat, but allow infanticide, abortion, and euthanasia.")
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To: LibWhacker

“Then it barrelled into the giant’s core about half an hour later and the energy of the collision could have vaporised much of the core.”

How do they know it was a half-hour and not forty-five minutes?

/nitpicky


10 posted on 08/13/2010 12:18:23 PM PDT by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: SunkenCiv

/mark


11 posted on 08/13/2010 12:19:40 PM PDT by KoRn (Department of Homeland Security, Certified - "Right Wing Extremist")
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To: LibWhacker

Immanuel Velikovsky, call your office.


12 posted on 08/13/2010 12:19:57 PM PDT by GodBlessRonaldReagan (And that is all the people need to know!)
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To: ConservativeMind

Don’t know and that is a fair question. Maybe enough kinetic energy was transferred that the fragments achieved escape velocity.

Take New Scientist’s articles with a grain of salt. They tend to sensationalize the news and many articles are of the “sky is falling/end of the world” genre. They do have a decent, sometimes funny, jokes page.


13 posted on 08/13/2010 12:19:58 PM PDT by battlecry
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To: LibWhacker

After everyone gets finished with the stupid unfunny wisecracks, we will be able to discuss the actual science in the premise.


14 posted on 08/13/2010 12:22:02 PM PDT by webheart (I am a Sarah fan.)
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To: LibWhacker

What’s wrong with you guys. This isn’t the FR I know, 15 posts and not a single Uranus joke.


15 posted on 08/13/2010 12:23:42 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: webheart

no chance that’ll backfire...


16 posted on 08/13/2010 12:25:19 PM PDT by Hegewisch Dupa
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To: LibWhacker
Jupiter's core might have been vaporised

Just to put the painfully obvious out there...everything is (1) caused by Global warming (vaporized core!), and (2) it just had to be Bush's fault...

I now return you to the normally scheduled thread responses...

17 posted on 08/13/2010 12:26:57 PM PDT by NorCoGOP (OBAMA: Living proof that hope is not a plan.)
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To: LibWhacker

What are these “scientists” using for the basis of this theory (or, rather, hypothesis, since there doesn’t appear to be any evidence that such an incident happened)?


18 posted on 08/13/2010 12:27:35 PM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud Papa of two new Army Brats! Congrats to my Soldier son and his wife.)
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To: LibWhacker

So the giant red spot is basically a scab. Call the shop steward!


19 posted on 08/13/2010 12:28:07 PM PDT by OrioleFan (Republicans believe every day is the 4th of July, democrats believe every day is April 15)
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To: KoRn

where is SIG?


20 posted on 08/13/2010 12:29:28 PM PDT by VaRepublican (I would propagate taglines but I don't know how. But bloggers do.)
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