Our world is a place so amazing that it is not clear why invent monsters, unicorns and other monsters. It is enough to look carefully at the diversity of species on our planet once to understand how evolutionary is inventive. Agree what the giraffe’s neck alone costs. But if you look at the sky and arm yourself with modern tools, you can find out that we are in an infinite universe surrounded by other celestial bodies. An attentive observer, such as astronomers from the University of Zurich, will notice that billions of years ago, Jupiter swallowed the planet 10 times the size of Earth. But how is this possible?
How and why does a planet collide?
So, the universe was born 13.8 billion years ago as a result of the Big Bang. Thanks to the gravitational interaction, dust and gas clouds formed, from which stars formed, and around them the planets. Subsequently, the stars were grouped into systems and galaxies appeared. And today there are only about two trillion of them in the observable Universe. This means that the number of various celestial objects is so great that collisions between them are simply inevitable. Even black holes collide with each other, resulting in gravitational waves. By the way, in our Telegram chat we often discuss the nature of black holes, join us!
Imagine: Five years ago, an interstellar object collided with Earth, but no one noticed
According to experts, our solar system formed about 700 million years ago. On the scale of the universe, this, of course, is nonsense. However, even during this time, much has happened within our space home. When the solar system was just born, there were many more planets in it than today. Most likely, there was another gas giant between Jupiter and Neptune. Scientists think so thanks to computer simulations. According to the program, this planet was pushed out of our system due to the gravitational influence of its rather big neighbors.
Also, scientists do not exclude that next to the Sun was another planet, similar in size to Mars. Probably, this celestial body collided with the Earth, and from the fragments that were thrown into the near-Earth space, the Moon was formed. Thus, the collision of planets in the early stages of the formation of stellar systems is a common occurrence. In the collision of such planets as ours, that is, rocky, two celestial bodies merge into one, and satellites form from the fragments.
How Jupiter "ate" the planet
According to a study published in the journal Nature, Jupiter could destroy a huge planet in the early years of its existence. This is a potential head-on collision of the gas giant with a newborn planet, which at that time was in the process of its formation. The size of this planet is 10 times the size of the Earth. According to researchers from the University of Zurich, such a collision may explain the nature of the core of Jupiter.
Read even more amazing facts about gas giants on our channel in Yandex.Zen
For the first time it became known that the gas giant has a “fuzzy” core, thanks to the NASA Juno space probe, which has been approaching the giant planet since 2016. In addition to stunning photographs, the probe has collected a wealth of information about the core of Jupiter.
It was previously believed that the core of Jupiter consists mainly of ice and stone. And thanks to Juno’s data, the research team was able to determine that lighter elements such as helium and hydrogen are present in the core of the gas giant. But there is no real and distinguishable barrier between the core of Jupiter and the layers surrounding it.
Lead author of the study, Shang-Fei Liu came to the conclusion that some colossal event that stirred up the nucleus can explain such oddities of the core of Jupiter. In the course of the study, scientists created thousands of computer simulations and found that the fast-growing gas giant could disrupt the orbits of the protoplanets that were nearby at that time. As a result, the research team found that there was a 40% chance that Jupiter would swallow one of the nearby planets.
If everything was just that, then such a collision was supposed to destroy the core of the gas giant, as a result of which the heavy elements of the core would mix with the lighter components of the layers surrounding the core.
It seems that the results of this study mean that if it were not for Jupiter, our solar system would have looked completely different. What do you think would be the neighboring planets?