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Ka-bam! Signs of a giant impact with Jupiter

5 Sep 2019, 11:20 UTC
Ka-bam! Signs of a giant impact with Jupiter
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Composite image of Jupiter, made of 3 photographs acquired by NASA’s Juno mission on February 12, 2019, during the spacecraft’s 17th science perijove, the maneuver that pulls Juno close to Jupiter in its off-center orbit. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill.
Did you know there’s a spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter now? NASA’s Juno spacecraft isn’t getting much press, but it is getting results. For example, Juno has measured Jupiter’s gravitational field with what Tristan Guillot of the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur in Nice, France – writing in Nature – called “exquisite accuracy.” In the article, he’s discussing a peer-reviewed study by Liu et al., published in Nature on August 14, 2019, proposing surprising findings about Jupiter’s core based on Juno gravitational data and observations of the composition of Jupiter’s atmosphere. The new study suggests that a young Jupiter might have collided head-on with another, very massive object, a planetary embryo or would-be planet if no collision had occurred. This object would have needed to have about 10 times Earth’s mass in order to account for what scientists are seeing in Jupiter’s core. That would make the colliding object nearly as massive as planet Uranus, the smallest of the four ...

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