Breaking News – Scientists Now Know Jupiter’s Origins

Using very advanced computer simulations,
researchers believe they have uncovered the origins of our solar system’s
largest planet, Jupiter, whose location and size, as well as the distribution of
its Trojan asteroids, which share the planets orbit, have long puzzled
scientists. Approximately 4.5 billion years ago, when the planets were forming,
Jupiter began as an icy asteroid about 18 astronomical units, or 1.7 billion
miles, from the Sun. Over the course of 700,000 years, it gradually spiraled in to
its current orbital distance, picking up size as it went by accreting matter and
then accreting gas once it was in a fixed orbit until it came to be the gas
giant we recognized today. In its travels it also picked up the Trojan asteroids
which now orbit 60 degrees ahead of and behind Jupiter. But what is most
interesting about the asteroids is that there are about 50% more asteroids in
the leading group. This is what led to the discovery of how Jupiter formed. If
it had formed at its current distance from the Sun, the distribution of the
Trojans would have been roughly equal. Only if it had formed much further away
and traveled inward would the distribution be as it is due to the
effects of gravity. The simulations run by researchers have shown this to be the
case. NASA plans to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids much more closely with
a probe named Lucy which it hopes to launch in October of 2021. The probes
name Lucy comes from the skeleton discovered by anthropologists in
Ethiopia in 1974 and not the peanuts cartoon character.