'Models of such a scenario lead to an internal structure that is consistent with a diluted core, persisting over billions of years, ' they say in their study, which was published in the journal, Nature.
Isella continued and said that "It suggests that something happened that stirred up the core, and that's where the giant impact comes into play". It appears that, rather than a very dense central core with less-dense surroundings, the planet's core might actually be more diffuse, but with lots of heavy elements. The collision theory would explain the oddities in Jupiter's gravitational measurements.
Jupiter's core seems off, astronomers think, in a way explainable by an ancient collision with another enormous body, perhaps one 10 times the mass of Earth.
"Through computational simulations, we show that there is at least 40% chance that Jupiter would collide with another planetary embryo in the next few million years", Liu added. According to the paper, scientists are now giving educated guesses towards a planetary embryo once having a head-on collision with an early stage of Jupiter's core.
The team put together a video to indicate what the violent impact may have looked like. "But Shang-FEI convinced me carrying out calculations, which indicated that it's not so incredible", she said.
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Shear refers to force and stress. "However, the impact that we postulate for Jupiter is a real monster", astronomer Andrea Isella of Rice University in Houston said. But this is physically unlikely - once Jupiter started gaining an atmosphere, it should have done so quickly, and that very atmosphere would have repelled heavier dust grains from settling onto the planet.
Though there's no time machine that can transport researchers back to the era of Jupiter's genesis, the new model-the brainchild of a team of researchers led by Shang-Fei Liu of Sun Yat-sen University-offers a possible explanation for this puzzling observation. And continuing to devise scenarios is important to explain the planet's odd interior, Yamila Miguel, assistant professor at Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands, told Gizmodo. "'This is still a new field, so the results are far from solid, but as some people have been looking for planets around distant stars, they sometimes see infrared emissions that disappear after a few years".
"One idea is that if you are looking at a star as two rocky planets collide head-on and shatter, you could create a cloud of dust that absorbs stellar light and reemits it", he said. "And then after some time, the dust dissipates and that emission goes away".
A team of astronomers from Japan, China, Switzerland, and the United States used data from NASA's Juno space probe to investigate Jupiter's structure and composition, according to research published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Additional coauthors are from the Astrobiology Center of Japan; the University of Zurich; Tsinghua University in Beijing; and the University of California, Santa Cruz.
The research was supported by NASA (80NSSC18K0828), the National Science Foundation (AST-1715719) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (200021_169054).
The collision theory fits in with findings about Jupiter's core, made by the NASA Juno mission. To contact the author, please use the contact details within the article.