HomeAstronomyA mystery in Jupiter's atmosphere sheds light on solar system's past

A mystery in Jupiter’s atmosphere sheds light on solar system’s past

Jupiter’s atmosphere has a strange composition, but it could be explained if the planet formed farther away from the sun than where it orbits today, a new study suggests. 

Scientists have known since NASA’s Galileo mission in the 1990s that the atmosphere of the largest planet of the solar system contains heavier chemical elements, elements with more protons in their cores, than the sun. That means the atmosphere of Jupiter also has a higher ratio of heavier elements than the material from which the planet formed some 4.5 billion years ago. For every atom of hydrogen, there are more atoms of oxygen or carbon in Jupiter’s atmosphere than in the sun.

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