Ancient rings surrounding the Sun could have divided the solar system - Astronomy and space – Physics World16 Jan 2020, 11:33 UTC
The clear divide between the inner and outer solar system is the legacy of a ring structure that existed a very long time ago in the planet-forming disc that surrounded the Sun. That is the conclusion of Ramon Brasser at Tokyo Institute of Technology and Stephen Mojzsis at the University of Colorado Boulder, who have combined computer simulations of Jupiter’s formation with observations of the discs surrounding young stars.
The solar system is clearly divided between the inner rocky planets and asteroids, and the outer gas giants – with the border between the two regions lying between Jupiter and the asteroid belt. This difference can be quantified in terms of carbon – with the element being much more abundant in the outer part of the solar system than it is in the inner rocky planets and asteroids. The difference is so stark that astronomers now widely believe that material in the newly-formed Sun’s planet-forming circumstellar disc was similarly divided in terms of its composition.
For some reason, carbon-rich material from the outer solar system has been prevented from migrating into the inner solar system. One explanation for this barrier is that it arose during formation of Jupiter. As ...