Jupiter mystery solved? Scientists reveal how they believe the planet really formed

It's the biggest planet in our solar system and larger than all of the other planets combined and many scientists believe it was formed near the sun.

However, a new study shows quite the contrary, according to research article accepted into the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, astronomers believe now the planet formed near Uranus.

One of the researchers involved in the paper is from Lund University in Sweden, he said: "This is the first time we have proof that Jupiter was formed a long way from the Sun and then migrated to its current orbit."

11 PHOTOS
Jupiter, its moons and orbiting asteroids
See Gallery
Jupiter, its moons and orbiting asteroids
artist's interpretation of the stormy gas giant with the red dot
Voyager 2 image of Great Red Spot and south equatorial belt
Juno spacecraft above Jupiters Great Red Spot. Computer illustration of NASAs Juno spacecraft over Jupiters pole. Juno was launched in 2011 on a five-year flight to Jupiter. Unlike previous Jupiter missions, it uses solar panels (three arrays seen here). Previous Jupiter missions were powered by generators fuelled by radioactive decay of nuclear isotopes. The device at the end of the array at left is the magnetometer experiment. After arriving in July 2016, Juno will orbit Jupiter 32 times over the next year, gathering information about the planets atmosphere, magnetic field and gravitational field. Jupiter, with a diameter of 142, 984 kilometres, is the largest of the planets.
This illustration shows a group of asteroids and their orbits around the sun, compared to the planets. Unlike the orbits, the planets are not to scale. The asteroid belt is thought to be a planet that failed to form, due to the gravitational influence of Jupiter.
Artists concept of Jovian Trojans, showing both the leading and trailing packs of Trojans in orbit with Jupiter. Jovian Trojans are asteroids that lap the sun in the same orbit as Jupiter, are uniformly dark with a hint of burgundy color, and have matte surfaces that reflect little sunlight.
solar system moon
Ice plumes on Europa. Europa is the smallest of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter, and the second closest to the planet. Its surface is icy and relatively smooth. Impacting meteorites cause melting of the surface, allowing the water to smooth out before re-freezing. There is some evidence of large-scale movements of the ice, possibly supported by a liquid mantle and driven by thermal processes within the moon. Ice geysers have been seen on this moon, as in this illustration - jets of water-rich material spewing 200 km into space. Io is also seen, against the night side of Kupiter.
Full-disk image of Jupiters satellite Io made from several frames taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft on March 4, 1979, from a range of 862, 000 kilometres. The circular feature at centre with a dark spot in the middle is an active volcano, & so are the other features similar to it. Ios volcanic activity appears to be of at least two types: explosive eruptions that hurl material up to 250 km into the satellites sky; and lava that flows across its surface.
artist's impression of the gas giant
Planet Jupiter. 3d rendering digital background. Space backdrop
Jupiter's large moon, Europa, is covered by a thick crust of ice above a vast ocean of liquid water. This crust will often pile up in long ridges as floes crash into one another.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

And it was a long migration to this point, one that took approximately 700,000 years!

Researchers studied asteroids called Trojans, observing that Jupiter had a lot more of them in front, rather than behind it (50% more to be exact).

The scientists also managed to conclude the planet is about 4.5 billion years old.

According to the study, researchers say the planet picked up steam (fuelled by the gravitational force of gases) and made its way TOWARD the sun, picking up massive asteroids along the way.

Nasa is planning to launch a probe in 2020 to study the Trojan asteroids and learn more about Jupiter's core.

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS