Given its similarities to its neighbor, Saturn, it seems natural to ask why Jupiter doesn’t have a spectacular, extensive system of visible rings.
Alas, this was not a reality. While Jupiter does have rings, they are thin, clumps of dust that are only visible when illuminated back by the Sun.
According to new research, these discount rings lack bling because the position of Jupiter’s chunky Galilean moons prevents the disk of rock and dust from accumulating around Saturn.
“It has long puzzled me why Jupiter doesn’t have even more amazing rings that would put Saturn to shame,” said University of California Riverside astrophysicist Stephen Kane.
“If Jupiter were near, they would appear even brighter to us, because the planet is much closer than Saturn.”
To inquire about the idea of a giant ring system around Jupiter at some point in its history, Kane and his colleague, UC Riverside astrophysicist Zexing Li, conducted a series of simulations of objects orbiting the Jovian system. Of.
These simulations took into account the orbital motion of Jupiter and the motions of its four largest moons, also known as the Galilean moons: Ganymede (which is larger than Mercury, and the largest moon in the Solar System), Callisto. , Ayo, and Europa. To this mix, the team added how long it could take for a ring system to form.
The researchers said that under this modeling, Jupiter may not have – and is unlikely to have – Saturn-style rings.
“Giant planets form massive moons, which prevents them from having substantial rings,” Kane explained. “We found that Jupiter’s Galilean moons, one of the largest moons in our solar system, would very quickly destroy any large rings that formed.”
Jupiter’s currently weak rings are mostly made up of dust ejected by some of its moons, possibly including material thrown into space by impact events.
Saturn’s rings, on the other hand, are mostly made of ice; Perhaps fragments of comets or asteroids, or an icy moon that either broke apart due to Saturn’s gravity or collided in such a way that ejecta rings were formed.
We know that Saturn’s moons play an important role in shaping and maintaining its rings. But a large enough moon (or moons) can also gravitationally disrupt the rings, putting ice out of the orbit of the planets great—who knows—where.
Although Saturn is the planet we all think of as the planet with rings, rings around planets are actually quite common, even in the Solar System.
Of course, there is Jupiter, as we are discussing now. The ice giants, Neptune and Uranus, both also have thin, thin dust rings.
Uranus is also tilted on its side relative to the other planets, with its orbital axis roughly parallel to the orbital plane. Its rings are believed to be related in some way or the other; Either something bumped into Uranus and knocked it sideways, or it once had absolutely huge rings, which could have caused it to lean sideways.
And rings aren’t limited to planets. A small body 230 kilometers (143 mi) across, called Chariklo, orbits between Jupiter and Uranus, which has rings. Haumea, the dwarf planet, hangs out in the Kuiper Belt with Pluto. Simulations show that rings around icy bodies are not uncommon, causing gravity to lift ice off the surface of said bodies, forming an orbiting ring around it.
Sometimes rings can occur on Mars as well. Its moon Phobos is getting closer to the Red Planet by just a haze every year; In 100 million years, it will be close enough to be torn apart by Mars’ gravity, creating a short-lived ring that may eventually re-enter the Moon. Even Saturn’s rings are likely to be temporary, destined to slowly rain down on the planet.
If we can examine them in sufficient detail, the rings could be used to piece together some violent aspects of the planet’s history.
“For us astronomers, they are splatters of blood on the walls of a crime scene,” Kane said. “When we look at the rings of the giant planets, it’s evidence that something catastrophic happened to put that material there.”
Anyway, it could also be that Big Jupe doesn’t have spectacular rings. Let Shani have his say. Jupiter was already projected onto the hexagons.
research has been accepted planetary science magazineand is available on arXiv.