Jupiter is the biggest planet of our solar system that is why it is often considered as the “king of planets”. It is massive compared to other planets and one of the major components behind its making is gas. And this makes scientists hard to understand what other things are there under the thick cloud cover. Juno spacecraft of NASA was sent to study Jupiter closely and it has been doing that for the past 8 years. Juno has now returned and has brought some interesting observations concerning the core of Jupiter.
Images brought back by Juno has been scanned which showed that Jupiter’s core is not quite what was thought before by scientists. The core is in fact hardly dense but that has made the task even more challenging for researchers to find out. Andrea Isella who has been co-authoring the study said that this is very confusing. It is being thought that something had happened which had shaken the core, so the impact has become even more massive.
To unravel the mystery, the team conducted computer simulations of the initial stage of Jupiter to understand what the planet has been through leading to its current state. What they understood was a huge impact in the early formation days of the planet must have led to this state at present. Isella described that since it is dense and has huge energy within it; the impacting object would hit it really hard and must have passed straight through the core surrounded by its dense atmosphere. Prior to the impact, the core was highly dense and after the collision, the core must have been diluted scattering things even more.
Simulations also indicated that the planet which might have hit Jupiter had to be huge and almost 10 times bigger than Earth which is why Jupiter still does not have dense core which scientists had considered it to have.