Jupiter and Saturn (Solar System)

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But that's not the only reason why planets like Jupiter have such large moon collections. Our solar system's gas giants are relatively far away from the sun. In contrast, some stars have massive, Jupiter-like planets called "hot Jupiters. Imagine if Saturn switched places with Mercury.

A paper by French astronomer Fathi Namouni argues that hot Jupiters have few, if any, moons. These planets are thought to originate in distant parts of their solar systems and then migrate inwards. Along the way, their moons get caught in a game of celestial tug of war. Gas giants may be big, but stars are much bigger.

Your Guide to the Solar System | veuswatapricha.ga

As such, they've got far stronger gravitational fields. So, when a hot Jupiter gets too close to its star, the star will eventually steal its moons. Distance offsets this ability. The further you travel from the sun, the weaker its gravitational pull on you becomes. Therefore, if Namouni is correct, the real Jupiter has 79 moons and counting because it's an insanely massive planet that's far enough away from the sun to avoid lunar theft.

Jupiter's moons are hardly monolithic.

A few of them have quirks that are well-known to astronomy enthusiasts: Io is loaded with active volcanoes , there's a hidden ocean on Europa that might harbor alien life , and at two-thirds the size of Mars, Ganymede is the biggest satellite in the entire solar system. These three moons, along with Castillo, probably formed in tandem with Jupiter itself. The big planet likely started out as a disc of gasses and dust that eventually became the gas giant we know today. While Jupiter took shape, some of the material swirling around it coalesced into the four moons Galileo spied in Saturn may have helped move the process along.

It's also been hypothesized that early Jupiter had a number of failed moons which were pulled into and absorbed by the huge planet. Other satellites weren't necessarily home-grown. Scientists think that many of Jupiter's moons started out as drifting chunks of rock that became ensnared by the planet's gravitational pull.

If Jupiter and Saturn are gas giants, could you fly straight through them?

Before wrapping things up, we should talk about lunar behavior. Many of the Jovian moons orbit in the same direction in which Jupiter spins. But there are those which go the opposite way — including nine of the new moons discovered by Sheppard and his colleagues. With so many bodies revolving in different directions, collisions are inevitable. Moons that crash into one another might well be destroyed in the process. Just as Jupiter acquires new moons, it's finding ways to lose some of the older ones.

Four of the many moons orbiting Jupiter are shown. Why does this planet have so many moons? Various groupings of Jovian moons with the newly discovered ones shown in bold. U from the sun and was pulled inward by currents in the gas clouds that still surrounded the sun at the time. In the case of Jupiter, the gas giant settled into its current orbit at just over 5 a.

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Saturn ended its initial outward movement at around 7 A. U, but later moved even further to its current position around 9. Astronomers have had long-standing questions regarding the mixed composition of the asteroid belt, which includes rocky and icy bodies. When Jupiter moved back outward, the planet moved past the location it originally formed.

One side-effect of caused by Jupiter moving further out from its original formation area is that it entered the region of our early solar system where icy objects were. Jupiter pushed many of the icy objects inward towards the sun, causing them to end up in the asteroid belt. With regards to Mars, in theory Mars should have had a larger supply gas and dust, having formed further from the sun than Earth. If the model Walsh and his team developed is correct, Jupiter foray into the inner solar system would have scattered the material around 1. An interesting scenario unfolds with Jupiter scattering material between 1 and 1.

Instead of the higher concentration of planet-building materials being further out, the high concentration led to Earth and Venus forming in a material-rich region. The model Walsh and his team developed brings new insight into the relationship between the inner planets, our asteroid belt and Jupiter.


The knowledge learned not only will allow scientists to better understand our solar system, but helps explain the formation of planets in other star systems. Reading this article one get the impression that it is common knowledge that Jupiter moved about several billion years ago. This must only be a theory. How can astronomers know how the planets moved so long ago? Ubbe, In studying other star systems, we see evidence of gas giants that have migrated inward towards their host star.

Basically Walsh and his team created a model that used the evidence we have of planetary migration in our solar system. One scientific theory can be worth a thousand facts! A valid theory is a super-fact, as it is based on many facts and predicts all of them and more correctly. A puny fact can only be tested on its own observations, a grand theory can be tested on all of them. Especially the basic Nice model , without the Grand Tack and observations of many migrated exoplanets from orbital dynamics , is one massively predictive model.

I was truly impressed when I first heard of it. This follows basically the same method that biologists use to constrain sets of historical pathways actually taken by populations when they parse phylogenetic trees. Now exoplanets and Grand Tack add to the testing and resolution of detail, in the same way that finding more detail does for biology using more fossils or sequenced genomes. Ok, no need to loose your temper. I meant nothing ill to a theory. I was just pointing out that this article makes it sound like this is the one and only theory worth mentioning.

I have for example heard theories about Mars being affected by the cataclysmic event which created the asteroid belt. It is just that when reading the article you get the impression the we already know exactly in which way. I am sorry if I come over as loosing my temper!

I wanted to make emphasis, as in the previous sentence. Screw that… you can get the free paper PDF here.

Ivan, I tried looking on Arxiv, for a free version of the paper. Does this model also account for the Late Heavy Bombardment?